Friday, January 01, 2010

Revolutions, not resolutions

Ah yes -- January 1, the day millions of Americans decide it's time to do something -- for real, this time -- about (insert not-so-good habit here). It may be a written thing, or just a mental "I'm gonna do it. I mean it. For real...." thing, but it's resolution time.

I propose a change: no more resolutions. Make a revolution.

As well-intentioned as they are, resolutions are usually doomed to fail. It is great to be all psyched up and full of positive energy at the start of the year. You know that you've got changes to make and so you make your list: stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more. You come up with all sorts of schemes to keep you on track: each time you smoke, you'll donate $10 to a smoke jar. Every pound you lose, you'll treat yourself to something. Every day you get up to make it to the gym, you'll do something to make yourself feel good.

These are not bad things in themselves, not bad at all. Change is good, and necessary ....... But resolutions like these are self-defeating, doomed to fail. Look at your resolutions, and truly ask yourself where you will be on January 15? January 30? February 28? March 31? July 1? Halloween? Next January 1? If the answer is a sigh and the thought, "Well, probably back in the same old place...." then change your mindset.

Start a revolution. Focus on one to two things that really need your attention, areas where you know you can take small steps and make big changes.
  • Want to exercise more? Instead of resolving to join the gym, work out every day, etc. (sorry, gym owners), how about saying, "I'm going to exercise for X minutes (when I get home from work, before work, at lunch) 3 times a week." And do just that -- you can still join a gym to do that, but be consistent -- that's the key.
  • Need to drop pounds? Instead of a big emphatic "I'm going to lose 50 pounds this year!" how about, "I'm going to prepare more healthy family meals" or "Let's eat out one less meal each week" or even "I'm going to take my lunch a couple of days more each week."
  • Is smoking your issue? How about "I'm going to smoke one less pack each week" or "I will call my doctor to discuss ways to quit - prescriptions, gum, patches, whatever I need."
  • Too much stress or negative energy? Resolve to focus on one positive item from each day. Develop an attitude of gratitude. Do one thing each day just for yourself. Make an effort to change your reactions. Love more.
Resolve to learn more about small steps you can do to make these wishes become reality -- and then act upon what you are learning! Then come April, you'll be in better condition and you'll have established some healthy habits ..... and be working on other habits and steps to move you closer to where you want to be. Your resolutions will have become revolutions.

Revolution: a turning around. What are you doing to turn your health ... your lifestyle ... your family's health ... around? How are you moving from the negative into the positive?

Join the revolution.

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