Make Daily Resolutions

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By John Meng, Managing Editor    A New Year’s resolution is a tradition, most common in the Western Hemisphere, in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behavior, accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their life at the start of a new year.     

Lose weight. Get in shape. Quit drinking. Quit smoking. Fulfill one’s goals. Be kind to others. Give up those tiny Godiva chocolates that seem harmless but add 20 pounds overnight. The list goes on.     

I suppose the start of a new year makes sense. It’s a new beginning. A rebirth. A date on the calendar that separates what was and what is to be.     

But my New Year’s resolution has been the same year after year, and that’s been to not make any New Year’s resolutions. Studies show that only 8 percent of Americans who make a New Year’s resolution actually keep them all year and 80 percent have failed by the start of February. Clinical Psychologist Joseph J. Luciani, Ph. D, says most resolutions fail due to a lack of self-discipline.     

For example, gyms all across the country are packed during the first few weeks of January and then the fitness crowds slowly fade away.     

That’s because New Year’s resolutions are made with good intentions but good intentions often fail in the real world because they are not backed by firm commitment, an indomitable spirit and firm discipline.     

Unfortunately, we cannot change our lives nor our lifestyles with only good intentions made with champagne toasts at 12 midnight on Dec. 31. I wish it was that easy, but it’s not.     

Instead of making annual resolutions, I prefer to put all of these challenges to lifestyle changes on a much, much shorter leash. I recommend daily resolutions or even hourly resolutions. A day or an hour is much more manageable and you can achieve success much quicker which boosts your confidence and self-discipline. You don’t have to wait 12 months to pat yourself on the back. Simply tell yourself ‘I will not eat that Godiva chocolate this hour’ or ‘I will not have a cigarette today.’     

Having a goal that you revisit frequently or even daily helps you reset, recommit, and recharge.     

Of course, I’m no psychologist and my only PhD came from the University of Hard Knocks. I don’t know Freud from Fabio. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned over many years of trying to improve myself in various ways. Some of those battles I’ve won. Some I’m still fighting.     

But I do know that we make important choices every day. Whether to smoke, drink, jog, exercise, or to eat that extra piece of pizza or chocolate cake. Don’t look back to a resolution you made weeks or months ago. Look at the resolution you made this morning.     

Every New Year’s resolution is made with good intentions. But for real success, take your resolutions in baby steps.     

Stay strong, Jackson County!

Jackson County Herald Tribune

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