I feel badly for resolutions. It seems there’s a counter-resolution movement going on. Members of this movement claim resolutions don’t work, people set unrealistic resolutions and that by February any resolutions made on New Years have fizzled along with the champagne. Well I have a confession, I like resolutions. I like the burst of motivation and the desire to change that comes with the New Year. I make resolutions and encourage my clients to make them too. And even if resolutions don’t last 12 months, perhaps the key isn’t to stop making resolutions but to make them continually throughout the year. Setting a goal is powerful and sometimes it’s figuring out why it didn’t pan or fine-tuning your original goal that’s most enlightening.

First, take stock of the year that’s ending
I’ll admit,this tip is not entirely mine. I read on Alicia Silverstone’s, author of The Kind Diet, site that she and her husband write about the year that’s coming to a close and all that has happened. I like the idea and would tweak it a bit. As the year comes to a close note your victories from the past year. You can pinpoint anything but I, of course, suggest incorporating something about your fitness and nutrition. Did you try any new sports or workouts? Did you cook more or decrease anything unhealthy in your routine? Or, did you feel less guilt when you ate a treat or skipped a workout. I am a big believer in noting your victories and commending positive action. You will need this ability as you make your road map for 2010.

For example, this past year I wiped artificial sweetener out of my house, cooked significantly more,ran my first race in a while (even though it was a 10K) and started yoga and snowshoeing. It took a while for me to make this list so give yourself a day or 2 for items to come to mind for your victory list.

Next, make resolutions (plural)
Some may think making a resolution means narrowing yourself down to 1 goal, I say dream big and make a list of resolutions. Think of this as a to-do list of sorts. When you make a to-do list you don’t tick every item off every day. There are some items you immediately tackle and others that may remain on the list for a while. I like the list of resolutions because you can address different areas of your life. Also, at different times of the year you can focus on different areas. This will give your resolution more longevity. A word of caution, try to avoid items such as “lose weight” or “be more fit”. To me, those are results and I would encourage trying to tap into how you will lose weight, the support behaviors. If your goal is to shed some lbs, you may concentrate on purchasing more produce, being more mindful of portions or eating 1 meal a day grain free (these are just examples).

In 2010 I hope to:
• Run Chicago Marathon in October
• Visit the farmers market more and more farmers market
• Continue with yoga, though I am intimidated
• Read more for pleasure
• Learn more about tea
• Be more patient

Monthly Review
I’ll agree with the cynics, for every person strong out of the gate on January 1st there’s almost as many hitting a roadblock in February. Let’s plan for this. Set a reminder in your blackberry or iphone for February 1st entitled “review resolutions.” Take your list out a read it over. Do you want to adjust anything? Maybe you planned to work out daily and you now feel more confident about 4 workouts a week. Or maybe you wanted to skip the alcohol for January and the superbowl got in your way. This is all ok. The only mistake is jumping ship and abandoning your list. Again, ask yourself what the month’s victories were, you are trying to gather all those victories for December 2010. I find the greatest skill with wellness is the ability to regroup.

So…anyone from the counter-resolution movement ready to convert? I’ll check back with you on 2/1/10.

What are your victories from this past year and what’s are your resolutions? I’d love to know.

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