For the new year, many of us resolve to make changes in our life. Forty to 45% of American adults make one or more resolutions each year. It is believed that the Babylonians were the first to make New Year's resolutions and early Christians believed the first day of the new year should be spent reflecting on past mistakes and resolving to improve oneself in the new year. As 2017 begins, we may resolve to make changes in our life.
Here are the statistics on how many of these resolutions are maintained as time goes on:
- 75% of new resolutions get past the first week: - past 2 weeks: 71%; - after one month: 64%; and - after 6 months: 46%.
If you are among the 25% that have already forgotten your resolutions or pushed them aside in the past, you are not alone. At least you tried to make a difference somewhere in your lifestyle. Some of us feel badly or defeated when we haven't 'stayed with it'. Make it simple and don't try to change everything at once...some suggestions:
Try to Save Money
Saving money requires two things – planning and willpower. Even if it's a small amount, try to put some in a savings account. Don't misuse your credit or debit cards - paying the 'minimum' on your monthly bills is running up the interest and costs you more in the long run. Try to manage your credit cards so you can pay off the amount due each month.
Lose some weight
Weight loss is probably the most common resolution in history. Shedding anywhere from a couple pounds to a hundred pounds has frustrated people for years. Go slow - no quick fixes - watch your calories and portions and eat nutritious meals. Do an exercise you really enjoy; walking and dancing are great weight watchers. The only way to lose weight sensibly is to take in less calories and exercise calories out. And portion control.
Easily one of the hardest resolutions to keep is quitting smoking. You’re fighting an addiction, which is never easy. There are many methods to help you do this. Yes, it can be done.
Read more books
While it might not be a common resolution, it is one that can help a lot. Reading is beneficial for anyone of any age. It might be hard to find time in a busy schedule for reading, but not as hard as one might think. Find a good book and read ~ one chapter a day. [*Reading the Bible is a super plus].
Going green not only helps the earth, it also can save you some money. There's lots of ways to cut down on unnecessary items or include new habits to offset the bad.
In this era of immediate information it’s surprising how few people actually watch the news and make the effort to stay informed. Listen to the news ~ watch more than one news outlet - watch unbiased news outlets, or at least watch a little bit from every angle. Read a newspaper - and make sure that you don’t only utilize one source for your news. Bias is rampant. The more sources you get your information from, the more complete a picture you will get or the truth. Find as many sources as you can from as many viewpoints as you can, and make informed choices based on all the information you take in.
Eat less fast food
Fast food is unhealthy especially if you eat it every day. Pack healthy snacks or find healthy snack bars. Taking a little time in the morning to prepare some food for the day ahead can save you money at the fast food place and at the doctor’s office. And benefit your waistline.
Manage your stress
Some tips: Move around doing cardio exercise; stationary bikes while watching TV; or sign up at for an exercise program at a salon or gym. Get a hobby - something you like to do. Writing, reading, volunteering or join a social group. Talk it out with a friend or confidante. It relieves stress. So does going to your place of faith or re-connecting with God.
Managing your debt
Use a debt management service which can be available online and over the phone, but do research to find out which ones are reliable and trustworthy. Paying bills on time and paying as much on the principal as possible is a good way to slowly reduce your debt. There’s no quick and easy way, but try not to get overwhelmed, and attack it head on. Cut down on credit cards.
Charity has a plethora of benefits, including tax deductions, a sense of pride, and of course the fact that you have just made someone else’s life better. There are literally millions of charities, and a myriad of ways to be charitable. Find something you can get emotionally involved in. Like animals? Look into wildlife conservation groups. Have a soft spot for kids? There are plenty in other countries that could use some support. Find something you can get involved in and stick with it. If it means something to you, then your work for the charity will be that much more rewarding. (Ref: CafePress)
Another aspect of charity is extending yourself for the good of others. It is truly rewarding to both giver and recipient by reading to a shut-in, sending cards of encouragement to those in need, taking a widow or widower to lunch or volunteering in outreach programs. Look around, there's many good works you can do.
Have a happy and blessed New Year!
© Marie Coppola Revised December 2016