Every year tens of thousands of people make New Year’s Resolutions. They make decisions/promises to themselves and perhaps those around them to get in shape, eat healthier, look better, or become more disciplined in some area of their lives. Gym memberships, exercise equipment, weight-loss/diet programs sales soar in December and January; they are multi-billion dollar industries.
Have you ever been to the gym in January? You can barely get a spot in a class or find a piece of equipment that is not already being used. Sadly, by the end of the month, the excitement dies down and the gym settles back into its ‘pre-New Year’s’ numbers. Gyms cash-in on your ‘commitment.’ They offer you some fantastic New Year’s membership fee waiver or something similar only to get you committed to a monthly fee for the next year knowing full well you’ll likely rarely be there.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Are you successful at persevering and making the changes you desire? If so, FABULOUS! You are among the few. If not, don’t fret; you’re like me and the millions of others out there who are disappointed in themselves in about two weeks.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is absolutely necessary to spend some time reflecting and understanding areas in your life that need to improve or change. What I don’t think is healthy is coming up with unachievable, unsustainable goals. All this does is put you back on the never-ending cycle of initial excitement leading to disappointment and ultimately failure.
There are many definitions for the word RESOLUTION. Here is the one I prefer:
“Subsiding of a pathologic state…” 1
A better way of saying this is that RESOLUTION is the process of restoring health, from injured and diseased to optimal wellness.
Let’s face it…we all have some ‘pathology’ in our lives. It may be physical, hormonal, spiritual, relational, or mental.
Who doesn’t want resolution and restoration to ‘health’? Now, how do we achieve it? Here are my top 5 “R”esolutions to ensure a successful start on your journey from pathology to wellness:
- What do you need to remove in your life?
- Unhealthy dietary choices. Sugar? Too much food? Excessive carbs? Artificial foods/sweeteners? Excessive alcohol use? Soda?
- Unhealthy lifestyle activities. Too much screen-time? Facebook for hours? Video games instead of family activity participation? Too little sleep?
- Unhealthy relationships. Anyone who leaves you drained, sad, or feeling worthless is unhealthy.
- Unhealthy environment. Are you exposing yourself daily to toxins? It is reported that women are exposed to over 150 toxic chemicals every day before they even leave the house in the morning. Look into what you are using on your body and in your home – a good source is Environmental Working Group. Visit their website at www.ewg.com. A recent article on the most toxic chemicals was recently written and posted by CNN here. Take the television out of your bedroom along with your cell-phone and other electronic devices.
- What do you need to replace?
- Healthy dietary choices. Reach for a goal of eating half your day veggies and make sure all the colors of the rainbow are included. Even if it’s not everyday, start with adding one new thing in to your dietary regimen. Drink half your body weight in fluid ounces of filtered water per day.
- Healthy lifestyle activities. Commit to some exercise – attainable, achievable exercise. Don’t say you are going to go to the gym 5 days a week and workout for an hour if you travel for your job and you are starting from a place of not working out at all. Be realistic with yourself. Make time for family if you know you need to. Cut back on your Facebook and screen-time, even if it’s by 5 minutes a day. Start somewhere. Work on sleep hygiene. Set a goal of at least 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
- Healthy relationships. We were designed to be in relationship with others. We all need to love and be loved. Build and strengthen relationships with those around you by spending more quality time with them, getting into counseling if needed, and truly understanding them. If you don’t have any meaningful relationships, start by immersing yourself in activities where you will meet others – book club, prayer group, educational activities, etc. Invest! The relationship we have with ourselves is equally important. Spend time every day keeping a Gratitude Journal – write down two to five things per day that bring you joy and that you are thankful for.
- Healthy Environment. Change out your makeup and personal care items with healthier varieties. Buy non-toxic cleaning supplies or watch one of the many YouTube videos out there on creating your own.
- What is broken? Sometimes this takes some deep soul-searching.
- Literally. We all have something broken in our lives – something in your home, car, work, personal item. Take an inventory of what needs fixing and commit to doing at least one a month. Pick the most simple and inexpensive first.
- Figuratively. We are broken people and all experience ‘brokenness’ in our lives. Fix what you can fix and extend grace and forgiveness for those things you can’t. If you need to ask for forgiveness from someone else, do so. Evaluate how you might build someone else up and help heal his or her ‘brokenness.’ Pray with someone, encourage someone, mentor someone, etc.
- What is unbalanced in your life?
- Too light vs. too heavy. Write down your goals/desires/passions, etc. Now evaluate what you are doing to achieve these things. Are you participating in or spending time on the things that will accomplish what you truly desire? If not, why not? Many of us are ‘too light’ in the things that really matter in life and ‘too heavy’ on the fleeting things. Take a deep, long look at what you wrote down. Make adjustments to achieve your goal.
- Are you being realistic? Are those really your goals? Are they still your goals? What has changed?
- Reflect. Reconsider. Redo. I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful that each day is new. Every day we get the opportunity to reflect on our lives, reconsider our goals/desires, and get a redo if we want. My goals and desires from last year aren’t necessarily the same for this year. In fact, some of them aren’t even the same from last month. Take time at least once a month to contemplate and reevaluate your objectives and your life. You can never grow and improve if you don’t take time on this very important step. Lastly, ask for help when you need it.
Happy New Year! May this year be the year of a New You and fulfilled Resolutions!
- Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc.