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New Year's Resolutions

| Monte Schwartz

Promises, promises . . .

. . . meaning those promises we make to ourselves this time each year, otherwise known as New Year’s Resolutions. Let’s see what I’ve got on my list: clean out the garage (that’s been there for a while) and get in better shape (at least lose pounds gained over the holidays!).

Admittedly, some resolutions are easier to keep than others. My now 12 year old son, when he was only four, was asked to come up with a New Year’s Resolution for a little school project that he was working on. “I will play more video games,” he wrote down. He then drew a picture of himself fulfilling that resolution. Come to think of it, that must be his resolution every year. Go figure.

Anyway, New Year’s Resolutions are not usually the easiest things for most of us to keep. According to one study, of those Americans who do make a resolution, only 8 percent of them are successful in achieving it. Brings to mind that old saying about resolutions: “The sooner you make them, the sooner you can break them.”

Of course the numbers, if accurate, can be broken down in any number of ways. Some people do achieve at least level of success. Nonetheless, it does seem that we’re either pretty good at foolin’ ourselves about what we’re capable of doing at the beginning of the year or lousy at the commitment and follow through. Probably some of both.

Whether we actually make resolutions or not, most of us do see the beginning of the New Year as a way to make a fresh start in some way shape or form. And even the studies on resolutions point out the importance of goal setting and resolutions in general. Simply setting a goal significantly raises your chance of achieving that goal.

So how can we improve our own odds of success when it comes to our resolutions? Experts remind us to set specific goals that are attainable, as opposed to something that we are almost certain to never achieve. Then establish specific steps and action items on how you are going to reach it. It’s also extremely important to keep believing in yourself. If you have a setback (and don’t we all), don’t use that as an excuse to give up. Resiliency is a critical key to success.

For what it’s worth, somebody I know who is tremendously successful at achieving his own New Year’s Resolutions told me that he thinks of the issue in slightly different terms than most people do. He views them as New Year’s Substitutions. In other words, it might not be realistic to add one more thing to our lives. Maybe substitute an hour at the gym for one of your hours in front of the TV or an apple for those Doritos. You get the idea.

So, if you haven’t already, it’s time to make a New Year’s Resolution or two! We obviously work with seniors and their families. Common resolutions recommended for the elderly include staying active as much possible, volunteering, keeping social, and making sure your affairs and documents are in order. And caregivers, don’t forget about yourself as you so often do. Consider some kind of resolution that addresses your own health and needs, and resolve to ask others for help if you need it.

You’re probably doing better than you realize or are giving yourself credit for. Do your best and be patient with yourself. None of us is perfect.

With that let’s make 2017 a great one! Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!