Thursday, January 6, 2011

Finding Some Resolve

There's something about the start of a new year that entices us to take up new projects and set goals. More than just New Year's resolutions, the calendar change brings us hope and promise for the year ahead. Unfortunately, we often slip into old routines and get discouraged before we are able to make lasting changes.

What is it most of us want to achieve in 2011? For most of us, we start the year with vows to improve our health whether it be physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Among the most common resolutions are: spending more time with friends and family, losing weight, getting fit, enjoying life more, and learning something new. What undermines our lofty ambitions is often unrealistic goals. Instead, we should "create bite-sized jobs for yourself that you'll be able to accomplish," states Dr. RachBeisel of the University of Maryland Medical Center. "If your goal is too big, you'll feel defeated before you even get started." And, we need to celebrate each little success.

As a holistic parent, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the task of keeping our children healthy in a toxic world. It seems danger is lurking everywhere. But taking on one small change can make a huge difference. Take, for example, switching to reusable shopping bags. Having one set of reusable bags (used regularly) can save up to 20,000 plastic bags from going into circulation. Even choosing paper is not the best option, as estimates show that 80% of paper bags are not actually recycled. A simple act of bringing your own fabric reusable bag each time you shop is a reachable goal that doesn't diminish in positive impact, even if it's left behind now and then. And each time you remember your bag(s), you should celebrate the success of your resolution.

The same is true for personal health goals. Instead of setting perfectionist standards, try replacing one less healthy food item in your pantry with a fresher, organic, or more natural option. Cleaning out your entire pantry in one fell swoop and swearing off all treats on January 1st is not likely to bring success. But moderate, gradual change can be long-lasting.

Another great option for your 2011 goals is to add in positive affirmations to your goals. Practiced daily, these simple affirmations can help you gain confidence and power as you move through each day. Trying to manage debt? How about a simple affirmation such as "I am in control of my finances. Relief is flooding my mind as I know that abundance is manifest within me," suggests Danea Horn. Affirmations, like resolutions, should be brief, simple, and realistic. And stating them in the present tense will bring them power and a sense of present accomplishment.

Finally, share your goals with others. There is both strength and accountability in numbers. Find and connect with others who share your goals or who will cheer you on as you make small strides. Knowing that you have support can be essential in your success!

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