Resolutions take some time

By Olivia Sullivan - Thunderword Staff

All I want for New Year's is a better me.

As the last few days of December transformed from post-Christmas sadness into New Year hopefulness, I compiled a list of resolutions for myself. My main goals were to read one book per month, and to maintain a regular workout schedule. 

While there are plenty other areas of my life that probably deserve more attention, I chose these resolutions because they encourage me to distribute my energy in positive outlets. 

They are also incredibly attainable. I did not want to choose goals that were truly impossible because I would just be setting myself up for failure. 

While physical health is important, your mental health makes a large contribution to your overall well-being, too. 

When I don't go on runs or lift weights often, I find myself to be overly stressed and ready to snap over small problems. As for my growing library, I genuinely enjoy spending hours with my nose buried in a book, but have not made reading for fun a major priority in recent years. 

Whether your New Year's resolution is to lose weight, quit a bad habit, or to save more money, you must remember what you have – a whole new time span of 365 days to better yourself. 

It's important to realize that you have all year to accomplish these goals. 

For the over-achievers out there, you could set a different goal for each month. For people like me, you could set a couple goals to last you the year and call it good. 

The fiery inspiration of January can continue all year if you let it; do not be defeated by the lack of progress in the first month. 

You must allow yourself time to better yourself. Better yet, allow time in between your goals. For the first few months, focus on one goal and dedicate yourself to it. Ace that class. Save your money. Quit smoking. Whatever it may be, remember that you can take it slow.

You could even set up resolutions for each season. For example, I live about two miles away from my job, so another one of my goals is to bike to work in the spring and summer. By including this physical activity into my schedule, I'll also be maintaining a regular workout routine, and saving the environment while I'm at it.

Dr. Bob Baugher, a psychology professor at Highline, said the self-modification process of New Year's resolutions requires certain steps in order to create, maintain, and achieve your goals. 

Anyone with a spark of inspiration for change must first define their goal in measurable terms, Dr. Baugher said. 

If your plan is to lose weight, determine how much weight, how many days a week you will work out, and by what time you want to achieve a goal physique. 

By defining the resolution, you give yourself a more explicit set of directions to follow rather than a vague idea that is likely to turn into a failed dream. 

Along with your definitions, you need to write down the reasons why you want to accomplish this resolution. Be sure to write down the negative consequences that may arise if you do not meet you goal.

If you post these reasons in an obvious place, such as your bathroom mirror or as the lock screen of your phone, the visual effect of seeing your reasons makes your brain uncomfortable. Your actions are then more likely to follow in line with your goal, Dr. Baugher said. 

A group of positive supporters should be there to congratulate you when you meet a milestone, or to offer encouragement when you stray from your path, but they should never bash you for any reason. 

Your resolutions are for you and your life, not for others to criticize. Make yourself a priority, make your goals to better yourself a priority, and do not rush your goals. After all, you have a whole year. 

Olivia Sullivan is the opinion editor of the Thunderword. 

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