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Making your resolutions pack some punch in the new year

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My friends and clients are busy making lists of changes they plan to begin in the New Year to improve their lives. It is New Years, and this is a tradition. We view the New Year as a time to become clearer and start over with improving our careers, our weight, our lifestyle, our marriages and our homes. Trying to improve our lives makes us feel more in control and hopeful in regards to our future. However, making a list is an important part, but the action is what determines our success. A resolution without the action or follow through is meaningless in the long run, so finding ways to keep the resolution takes priority. Below are suggestions that can help you complete the follow through, and become the better version of yourself you want to see.

1. The less new changes on your list the better. You can adapt one new habit, but working on five is going to become overwhelming, and you will be more likely to give up mid January.

2. List one thing you want to change for January and complete that by March. Have another habit you want to acquire in March and then work on that through June. Most habits become habits after 30 to 90 days. If you give yourself enough time with one and practice it, there is a good chance you will continue with it.

3. The more you can change with your spouse the better. Teamwork improves marriages, and if one partner is having a weak day, the other partner can encourage them with the changes.

4. If trying to lose weight or quit any addictive habit is your resolution, it is important to clean the substance out of your home completely. For example, if you want to lose weight, go through the pantry and get rid of any food in a bag, box or can. Clean eating is powerful medicine to the body and mind. Losing weight, giving up cigarettes or alcohol is a family commitment. The addict is never alone in their addiction. The whole family becomes part of the addiction with enabling, social cues, and sabotage.

5. Develop some type of reward into your resolution plan. Be prepared to reward yourself (and/or family) with small steps toward your goal. People who are adapting a new habit can become irritable and crabby, but that is never reason not to make the change.

6. Expect to fall off the track sometime. We all fall backwards sometime, but that is not a reason to give up on your change. Expect it, and have a plan in place to get back on track.

No one changes easily. It is tough work and only we can make the changes we want to see. When you change, you own your power to be a better person. Changing can be a form of spirituality as well as a sign of self discipline. Praying for strength, journaling your thoughts as you go through this process, and being transparent about the flaws in yourself that lead you to needing to change are helpful in helping you understand yourself a bit more. The New Year is yours. Take the ball and run with it!

– Mary Jo Rapini

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