FIRST OF THE MONTH RESOLUTIONS
There is a special place in hell reserved for whoever decided that the 1st of January of every year should be the day on which we make resolutions. For the majority of people, sticking to those resolutions is nigh on impossible, and by the middle of the month a high percentage of those promises that we made to ourselves have been broken.
But the first of the month feels like an ideal day to start a new resolution, whatever it may be. A fixed period of time with an inbuilt countdown to a foreseeable end. And it is, if you take a few things into account before committing yourself.
Firstly decide what it is you really want - do you want to exercise more or lose weight? Do you want to go sugar free or cut down on sweets? Do you want to diet or fit into your favourite jeans more comfortably? The goal is the most important part of committing to a resolution. To avoid being disappointed with yourself, being hyper-critical of yourself and finding yourself in a worse position than when you started on Day 1, start by really getting to grips with what you actually want. If you want to fit into your jeans by Day 30, you don't necessarily need a month of no-carbs, no sugar, no alcohol. Make the jeans your goal.
Once you have found what it is you really want - WRITE IT DOWN! It doesn't matter where, in a journal, on social media, a blackboard in the kitchen, a Post-it note on the fridge door; the idea is not necessarily to make it public, but to remind you everyday of what your goal is.
Then, alongside your goal, note 3 positive words that achieving that goal will mean to you: it could be an emotion - happiness, pleasure, satisfaction; an action - dancing, singing, swimming; a colour that expresses an emotion - red (passion), white (clean), it doesn't matter what the words are as long as they mean something to you on a personal level.
Now that you have your goal and you have the positive outcomes that attaining your goal will bring into your life, think about how you will incorporate something every day into getting to that target.
For example, if your goal is to be able to run up the stairs without struggling for breath, add a little more exercise into every day using a daily planning tool or a journal to note what you are going to do that day - walk 2000 steps in the morning and another 2000 in the evening. Avoid that extra cigarette, take the stairs instead of the escalator - write down whatever action it is you are going to take and then when you have done it - TICK IT OFF. Feel that sense of satisfaction when you have not only achieved what you set out to do that day, but that you are a day closer to your final goal. Give each day that sense of achievement.
Don't let negative thoughts dismay you, feeling that you 'cheated' on something, a drink, a snack, a cigarette can easily turn us away from our resolution. Keep the focus on the positive: I might have had a chocolate cookie (or 2) but I did walk 5000 steps before lunch. We have a tendency to only remember the bad, that's why recording what we do right, all those little triumphs and successes is so important. Look back through the pages of your journal and you will see all those little ticks when you have achieved your goal each day - that will help you see that you are on the way and that one negative doesn't wipe out all the positive work that you have done.
Finally, whatever your goal is, and however you are going to get there, try to enjoy the process. The first few days may be hard, you may struggle to keep up momentum, but there is an end in sight, and once there, remember to celebrate!
****. There are plenty of free downloadable/printable planners available on line, or use it as a perfect excuse to buy that pretty notebook. Here are a few ideas: