The Top New Year’s Resolutions
# 1, Weight Loss
At the top of the list is weight loss and this is the resolution that will be broken the most.
First, as with any New Year’s resolution you should set realistic goals. There is nothing wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds but expecting to drop four or five dress sizes in a couple of months is not realistic. First, see your doctor and tell him what you are planning and how best to lose the weight. In most cases diet and exercise will do the trick but some can benefit from prescription medication. Have a full physical before starting an exercise plan so that you can find out what shape your heart is in and avoid a dangerous situation.
#2, Stop Smoking
While fewer Americans smoke than ever, quitting smoking is still near the top of the list of New Year’s resolutions. Stopping smoking will add years to your life as well as allow you to spend those years with your spouse and grandchildren and doing the things you love. Giving up the old nicotine ball and chain may be hard but dying a prolonged death of cancer is not easy. It is among the ugliest ways to die. First, don’t try to quit alone. Tell your spouse or friends what you are attempting to do and ask for their support and patience during your withdrawal period. Visit your doctor and see if he can prescribe a nicotine patch or gum. There are oral medications that reduce nicotine cravings and have a good success rate. If you live in New York the city has a help line for quitters and offers free nicotine gum as part of a citywide stop smoking program.
Have a Better Relationship,
This one may be harder than any of the above. If you are having trouble in your relationship you may need outside counseling. This goal needs to be discussed and shared with your partner to work. Talk about ways that you can grow closer again and try and set aside time for romantic dinners and lazy afternoons when you can. Discuss common goals in life and how you can support each other. If you are religious, meet with your church counselor and nourish the spiritual side of the relationship. Plan a vacation to a romantic spot or one that has meaning to both of you. You can have a better relationship but it is a two person resolution.
Make More Money,
In these difficult times earning more money than you have earned in previous years may be very difficult. Set reasonable goals and instead of wishing to earn more money find out how to make the money you already make go farther. This may mean making a budget to find out where your money is going and cutting back on unnecessary things. Almost everyone can find one or two things they are spending money on that they can eliminate. Whether it is brewing your own coffee, trading down to an affordable home or car or getting rid of extra cable channels and joining a DVD by mail club instead there is usually a way to give yourself a “raise” without having to wait for your boss to.
5, Be A Better Person,
Everyone, including the saintly types of people that you admire can do something to make themselves a better person. If you don’t have Bill and Melinda Gate’s billions to start a charity just try the little things first. Let a car that needs into your lane into it every now and then. Hold the door open for someone whose hands are full. Give that elderly person fumbling for a quarter at the checkout counter one from your pocket. Make it a point to say thank you when someone does something for you. Be nice to your waiter and tip them fairly.
When your kids, spouse or pet does something right praise them. Positive reinforcement is not just for the Dog Whisperer.
If there is a cause you care about, don’t “almost give” but open up your checkbook and make a donation if you can afford it.
Even if you are not religious, try and find the spiritual side of life in nature and the beauty that surrounds you. Don’t use religion as simply a passport to the next life but as a tool to live the current one better. Embrace the teachings of “love your fellow man” and “turn the other cheek” as well as charity and kindness to strangers. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you and you will be on the path to being a better person.
Have a happy and prosperous New Year.