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I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions.
More often it’s a means of setting yourself up for failure. I’m much more interested in treating each day as a means to make things right and start anew.

But New Years Day offers a chance. A chance to create a new life, better yourself, plan your future. Every success starts with a good plan.

If you  FAIL to plan,

                   You PLAN to fail

With long New England winters it’s easy to slip. To slow down, to fall apart. Even if that happened many years ago it’s a great time to begin a new outlook. To attempt to change your life, your mind-set, the state of your health.

Generally I say every day is time to change your life, but what better than a new year? An age-old tradition. Let’s just roll with it.

Here’s my take on New Years Resolutions –

Consider them a new start. A means of making needed change. A plan for your future.

Make a plan with goals. Be sure you have small goals that create the larger ones. And add rewards for each you accomplish.

Don’t make too many. You don’t want to overwhelm yourself. You can always add new ones as you achieve more.

Make them realistic. If you don’t believe you can’t achieve.

Don’t be afraid to fail. All of the best lessons are learned from someones failures.

Pick yourself up when you fall down. Never give up just because it didn’t go as you expected.

Don’t wait until next year. If, as so many do, by March you aren’t hitting that gym every day, start again! And again.

Here are some of the things on my Life Plan of 2012 –

  • Grow new things
  • Train HARDER
  • Take better blog photos
  • Increase my blogs exposure
  • Start the “Back Pack Europe Fund”
  • Deepen my yoga practice
  • Grow my training business
  • Publish one article
  • Meditate daily
  • Participate in a Farmers Market
  • Give private cooking lessons
  • Volunteer
  • Rekindle my collections for the Foster Program
  • Learn and share better ways to be greener and more self-sufficient

…I may be breaking rule number 3 with my own list.

Now that I have the big picture (and this certainly isn’t the whole of it, but let’s avoid getting too personal just yet, shall we) I can take each one and create steps to get there. If you want to run a 5k determine which one, when it is, how many weeks you have to train and what that training looks like.

I use a note-book for this. I make my list and then in the pages following, work out each plan individually. Once I have an idea of how I want things to look and put some kind of time line to it, I use my Outlook calendar and set reminders for myself. These pop up on my iPhone as gentle cues to stay on track. You can put them on a calendar somewhere you will see it daily too.

Under train harder I have add an inch to my thighs, put on 4 pounds of muscle, increase my cardiovascular endurance. Bulking up in the winter is easiest because you aren’t as worried about those 6 pack abs…. and a little extra insulation in New Hampshire doesn’t hurt. So I will start that cycle now and continue through the end of February. But once March comes I will start the shredding phase and work on my cardio. By the time Summer comes I will have both goals achieved and be ready for swim suit weather. It’s a plan! Then I take each of those smaller plans and break them down further. How many days will I train, what will my diet look like and so on and so forth. This is why I need the whole notebook, but it really doesn’t take as long as it sounds. And really, if I only meet half that goal I will be satisfied. I still have the rest of the year to finish. I can begin again, and again until I get there.

I have also made vision boards in the past. Photos of all the things I wanted to achieve throughout the year. Then hung it somewhere I would see it every morning like my closet. I would also tape pictures of things to my day planner so I would see it multiple times a day. Find a way to keep your goals front and center throughout the year.

Have you heard of the Day Zero Project?

“Day Zero is a place to record your goals, discover new challenges, and gain motivation to achieve them.
Build a list of 101 things you want to do – then track your progress over the next 1001 days. Get ideas and inspiration from thousands of other participants and start your new productive life today. “

Why people so often fail?

Because they didn’t have a plan.

Most resolutions have something to do with health and/or weight. And this is where people fail the most. They just said I’m going to start going to the gym. They never took the time to figure out just how they would do it. They never got the help they needed. They just picked a weight they thought they wanted to see on the scale and often, an unrealistic date to finish by. They didn’t determine if this was realistic. They didn’t break it down. They didn’t have support. Then they got frustrated, beat them self up and decided it couldn’t be done and quit.

Consider a New Years Ritual –

I was discussing this subject with a friend/client while training the other day. Her New Years tradition includes spending the first with friends, drinking champagne, and eating at a great restaurant. It also includes taking down the tree and throwing it out the door as a means of saying good-bye to the previous year and hello to the future! I love it.

I am considering this as a new ritual myself. On New Years Eve perhaps and burning the tree in a bonfire. Spending the day cleaning and clearing out the old. Celebrating the completion that evening with a fire and starting the next day fresh and clear. Let’s just hope there isn’t a wind chill of 20 below like there was last night. Because no matter how much I plan, nothing will make me suffer that nonsense.

What are your plans for the New Year?

Live Well!
~S

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