PIXABAY

It was one of the last things to do before the clock struck midnight and the calendar turned the page toward a New Year.

Making a list of resolutions — those promises, vows or declarations of what you will do in this year that you didn’t do in years before.

One San Fernando Valley office manager said she was going to enjoy the outdoors more often in 2018. “That’s one of my favorite things to do — hiking, looking at flowers — and I find myself not doing it enough,” she said. The office manager even bought a membership to Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge, an urban retreat known for its gardens, forest and galleries. “Hopefully that will push me a little.”

A Northridge student said she was going to  eat healthier. “As a college student you often just go for the ‘junk food,’ something fast, quick and on-the-go. This year I’m going to focus on meal-prepping, and eating more at home.”

Making resolutions is easy. We all want to quit smoking, lose weight, develop new interests. And we’re sincere when we make those promises to ourselves.

But keeping resolutions can be hard. Many don’t even last a month.

People can sometimes make too many resolutions. A laundry list of improvements can be daunting, then overwhelming, then something else you’ll do “next year.” There could also be emotional or psychological impediments you may not recognize that block your progress. 

You may not be making changes from a realistic view. Scientists say it can take up to 66 days before a new habit is automatic. Which means no quick fix or sudden turnaround. So if you began your new resolution in January, it could take until early April for the new habit to be permanent.

How can you keep the faith? What are some ways to maintain and preserve your new goals and objectives?

First of all, experts suggest, write down and clearly define your plan then keep it somewhere visible or accessible. For example, don’t just say you’re going to ride a bike for exercise today. Plan a specific time and location, distance and the amount of time you will set aside for your ride. If you write down your resolutions you are 45 percent more likely to keep them .

Second, work with small, manageable goals rather than some sweeping, all-encompassing pledge. If you want to change behaviors, change them one at a time — again, it requires time.

And don’t go it alone. Enlist friends to workout with, or search for a support group to quit smoking or overeating. There may be minor mishaps or setbacks, but that doesn’t mean you must beat yourself up or consider yourself a failure. People who share their experiences and struggles tend to have a higher rate of success in making permanent changes. Remember, you are human; you can get back on track.

Psychologists say The New

Year is not for some grandiose, massive “correc-tion” in your life, but rather a chance to take stock and re-evaluate past behavior and direction. If you keep your resolutions and goals small and practical, progress is attain-

able. Otherwise, you’ll just keep making resolutions every year.

 

— Mike Terry

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