by Dr. Susannah Smith
Resolution: a “decision to do something or to behave in a certain manner” (wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn).
The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions goes back to 153 B.C., when Janus, a mythical king, was placed at the beginning of the Roman calendar. Janus has two faces: one that looks back into the past, and one that looks forward to the future. He became the symbol for making amends for past transgressions, asking for forgiveness from past enemies, exchanging gifts, and making resolutions to be healthier in the future. January, named after Janus, became the first month of the new year in 46 BC when Caesar dedicated a calendar that more closely reflected the seasons.
The beginnings and endings of cycles may be relative to one’s culture, but the themes are universal. We want to put the difficulties of the past year behind us. We are inspired with the hope that comes from new beginnings, like the lengthening of the days and the promise of Spring.
According to my web surfing, some of the most common resolutions are:
1. Spend more quality time with family and close friends
2. Exercise and get physically fit
3. Lose weight
4. Save money
5. Reduce stress at home and at work
6. Get organized
7. Get out of debt
8. Get a more fulfilling occupation
9. Enjoy life
10. Quit drinking
11. Quit smoking
12. Give more to charity; help others
13. Learn something new
14. Get a better education
Whatever your own resolutions may be, here are some tips on how to succeed:
• Be realistic. Most plans fail because we want too much too fast. Instead of demanding immediate change, look for health and lifestyle change.
• Love yourself just the way you are because you are perfect. You are a survivor. You made the best choices you knew to make. There are no mistakes, just learning.
• Life is an experiment: we control certain variables and observe others. In coaching, we talk about “unexpected outcomes” instead of mistakes. We are always seeking. Our resolutions are this year’s internal suggestion for improvement.
• Be kind to yourself, and have fun. If you set yourself up for a program that is impossible, too demanding, or competitive, you probably won’t enjoy yourself, and you probably will not continue the program long term.
• Get a buddy who wants the same result and design a program together if possible.
• Take a realistic look at your life now. If you are too busy, even with “fun” and “productive” endeavors, give your life some space to be.
• Create positive affirmations and meditate each day.
• Visualize yourself living the lifestyle you seek.