By Dr. Adam Glasgow, a Steward Health Care weight loss surgeon.
It’s January again, a New Year, and for some of us a time for “new” resolutions. You can hardly turn on the TV or radio, or read a newspaper or magazine without some talk of New Year’s resolutions. Health clubs and diet advertise them. Self-help gurus recommend them. And we all buy in. “New Year, New You.” But this year I find myself asking, are New Year’s resolutions really productive?
There is something compelling for all of us about latching on to a ready made fresh start of a new year. But in reality, so many resolutions made on January first are abandoned just weeks or months later, and this so often leads to feelings of disappointment and shame. I’m not suggesting that resolutions don’t ever work or that they have no value, but I am advocating a fresh look at our efforts to make change.
FIRST, just because you don’t make a change in your life on the first day of the year, doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Every single day you wake up is an opportunity for a new start. It could be January 10, or April 3, or any day you are ready. You have 365 days of opportunity to make change in the upcoming year, or even better, 8,760 hours to do it. That’s a lot of opportunities.
SECOND, instead of resolving to make a change, just make change. To quote the Nike ad “just do it!’ Promising to do something may feel good, but doing it feels even better. If you dispense with the formalities and proclamations, you can lose the burden of having to “keep your resolutions” and focus instead on what you need to do.
THIRD, take it one day at a time. I certainly didn’t make up this great concept, but I sure do believe in it. Whatever change you are trying to make, just focus on making it for today. Then tomorrow you can do it for tomorrow. Don’t tackle “forever,” just tackle TODAY.
FOURTH, figure out what you need to do to succeed and put those measures in place before you start. Whose help do you need and what do you want them to do? What do you require to help yourself be successful? Make your plan and enact it so you are set up to succeed. I say it so often, it is probably boring but “nobody plans to fail, they just fail to plan.”
So there you have my thoughts about New Year’s resolutions. Free yourself from the burden. You didn’t have to become a new person on January first to make meaningful changes today.
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