Time for Fresh Starts
The New Year is the time for fresh starts – hence, our new year’s resolutions. Do you still make them? Some of us have stopped doing so years ago. “What’s the point?” we ask ourselves. We know they won’t last.
But they can last. The secret is in three words: measurable, observable, and attainable.
To make a New Year’s resolution that lasts, you need to set a numeric goal for it: lose ten pounds? Hug your kids ten times a day? Sleep at ten o’clock every night? The number will make it measurable.
It also has to be something you can easily see – in other words, observable. “Love my husband/wife more” is not observable, but “kiss my husband/wife three times at day” is.
The third is usually what makes us fail the most. We need to set goals that are attainable. If you know you really can’t hug your kids ten times a day for some reason, then choose a smaller number or an entirely different New Year’s resolution this year. Remember, you only need to make one resolution every year. Better to make one that you keep than five that you all scrap completely before February even comes in.
Having said that, here are some New Year’s resolution suggestions that will help you start the year right this coming 2012.
1. Eat one serving of fruit or vegetable every day.
If you already eat one serving of fruit or vegetable every day, then eat one more serving. If you already eat two, make it three. This is a good way of putting in more natural vitamins into your body, adding fiber to your diet, cleansing your colon, and making you look and feel better.
If the thing that’s hindering you from eating healthier is budget, remember that a big can of pineapple juice or a whole bunch of bananas cost just half the price of a cup of designer coffee.
If it’s convenience that’s holding you back (maybe the grocery store is too far from your home), try dried or frozen fruit. You can replenish your stock just once a month, if that’s how long it takes for you to go back to the store. Dried fruits such as raisins and prunes and dried mangoes are not just delicious, they’re also perfect for staving away sugar cravings. Frozen strawberries are not just perfect for making shakes, they also cost a fraction of fresh strawberries, they will keep in the same condition in your freezer for a much longer time, and they’re chocfull of antioxidants to boot!
Or plant your own fruits and vegetables. Scatter 20 seeds of tomatoes in your backyard (it takes all of five seconds to do so), and in a few months, maybe four of them will grow large enough to supply you with easy, fresh, and delicious tomatoes right within arm’s reach.
2. Do ten toe touches every day.
The toe touch stretches the large muscles behind your legs, limbers up your back muscles, and increases your circulation. The beauty of a resolution like this is that it’s not just good for your body, it’s also very simple to do, so there’s no reason to skip it. You don’t need instructions or diagrams to do it right. You don’t even need space or extra time; you can do it in the bathroom, while you’re showering.
There’s a hidden benefit too. Once you start doing your toe touches, it could encourage you to do a few more exercises, such as side bends, arm stretches, jogging in place, jumping jacks, lunges. Now these could take a little more time and space, but since your resolution was really just to do ten toe touches, you never have to feel obliged to do all the other stuff. At the end of the day, if you did nothing but ten toe touches, you’ll still be in better shape than if you did no toe touches at all.
3. Save five pesos every day.
Or five dollars. Or five yuan. Whatever amount it is, make sure it’s small enough for you to not feel it. It has to be so small, there’s practically nothing else you can spend it on. That makes it painless for you to put it in your savings bottle. After all, what else could you possibly do with it?
But what if you have spare change more than the amount you resolved to put in? Should you put it in?
That’s tricky. If you put the spare change now and end up getting somewhat short on cash later, you’ll end up blaming the “extra” money you put aside. Or you may be tempted the next day to put in less, cancelling out the spare change you put in the previous day. This will ruin the regularity of habit that we are trying to achieve. And if the habit of putting in the same amount of money into your savings bottle is not established, you will eventually stop putting in anything at all, and you’ll be back on square one.
So here’s the game plan: If you want to save more money, you can increase the amount you resolve to put aside daily next year. But this year, our main goal is to get you into the habit of keeping your resolutions and setting aside a regular, specific amount every day.
4. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning
Think about it: for eight hours at night, while you sleep, your body has been hard at work, repairing itself, all while it’s pumping blood, breathing in oxygen, and filtering your blood of wastes, just like it does the rest of the day. The only difference is that at night, you don’t provide your body with the water it needs to support all this activity.
When morning comes, your body must be pretty thirsty. Surely, it would welcome a glass of water the moment you wake up.
Of course, the biggest advantage of this resolution is it provides a quick and easy way of increasing your daily water intake. That should result not just in better health but, more importantly, in nicer-looking skin!
Drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is also a very effective way of helping you wake up, revitalizing you and giving you the energy you need to start the day – or, at least, walk to the bathroom.
5. Turn the computer off on Sundays.
This, in my experience, is the most difficult New Year’s resolution to keep – but if you think about it, it’s remarkably simple. You don’t have to do anything; you don’t have to add an item to your to-do list. In fact, it entails not doing something. And yet, it has the greatest potential for making a huge improvement in our lives and our relationships.
Remember the third commandment: “Honor the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” Sure, we all have deadlines to catch. The deadlines will never end, and the moment one is ticked off our list, another one will come in to replace it. What is one day out of seven where you stop work, reenergize yourself, take time to meet with the Boss (a.k.a. go to church), and actually talk to your children while looking at their faces rather than at the computer screen?
If your deadline is that urgent, you could skip a few hours of sleep on Friday and Saturday to meet it. (You’re not going on a Friday or Saturday night party, with such an urgent deadline looming, right?)
Sometimes, though, it is not deadlines that keep us online on Sundays. It’s eBay or Facebook or Twitter or even CNN. Remember, if you miss reading the news on Sunday, the world – or even just the country – will not come to a standstill. Issues will be resolved – or remain unresolved – whether you read about them or not. You can do your eBay shopping during your weekday lunch breaks or even coffee breaks. Nobody on Facebook or Twitter is as important as your children or your God.
6. Tell your husband/children/parents “I love you” every night.
Or if you have never been expressive in your family and “I love you” is too embarrassing for now, at least greet them “good night” before you go to sleep. You can slip in the “I love you” next year. If you can’t even blurt “good night” out loud, text it.
The point is make sure you don’t go to bed without letting the people you love know that you love them and you’ve thought about them at least once this day. After all, we can never be sure which of us will be waking up in the morning.
This little gesture will send you into the night with peace in your heart, and it will send you into the next day with a clear knowledge of who you’re waking up for.
7. End each day with a prayer.
At the end of the day, right before you go to sleep, relax your mind by casting your burdens on the Lord and telling him where you want to be in the coming days.
They say that right before we go to sleep, the things we think about get recorded in our mind, and our mind finds a way to bring us to the things we record in it. Do not fill your mind with your worries, but fill it with your dreams, and let your subconscious and your God bring you to the good place where you want to be.
Some people call it positive imagery. Others call it prayer.
All these little resolutions can bring you towards better things in the coming year. Remember, you don’t need to do them all. Just choose one of these easy, simple things, and make your mind up to sticking with whichever you choose.
Your main goal is to learn to keep the resolutions you make. Should you succeed in doing something different, something better, this year, then nothing can stop you from taking bigger, better steps in the rest of the years to come!