Happy New You!
Beth Cooper Howell
As the clocks chime midnight, most of us will leap into 2011 armed with New Year's resolutions. We might tell ourselves our school work is going to improve; we'll be kinder to our friends, stop eating junk food and do more chores.
But a few months down the line, we may well realise we haven't kept any of these promises. We'll wonder where we went wrong. Sound familiar?
Don't worry - you're not alone. Psychologists say millions of us fail to keep our resolutions because we want fast results and can't keep up the effort to change. We want too much, too soon.
Resolutions are a great way to turn over a new leaf, but you need to keep your 2011 wish list real. Here are tips to get you started - and keep you going!
Life's a journey
Stop planning and start acting. Your attitude is more important than the goal. So, if you want to get fit, stop thinking about it and just do it. Put on those trainers and hit the streets, instead of lounging on the couch, dreaming of your great new body.
If it isn't broken ... don't fix it!
Sometimes, we want to change things because other people say we should. Peer pressure can influence you into believing you should dump your best friend, or take up yoga - but do you want to? Look at your life honestly - if you're mostly happy, don't make changes just for the sake of it.
Waiting until after your uncle's birthday in June before starting your healthy eating plan is called subtle procrastination - you're putting off doing something instead of just doing it. Once you have a goal, take small, but firm, steps to achieve it. Today, for example, you could swap a fizzy drink for water or freshly-squeezed orange juice. Easy!
Make pain a pleasure
Most resolutions focus on weaknesses. We want better bodies, grades or relationships. The problem is: no pain, no gain. We have to give up a certain amount of comfort first. Rewire your brain to accept that a little effort goes a long way. If your resolution is studying for an extra two hours a week, don't be glum - reward yourself on Friday with a sweet treat and pat on the back.
Swap bad habits for good ones
What's the point of a resolution if it makes you miserable? If you want to kick an unhealthy habit, replace it with a good one. Eating less chocolate, for example, could be swapped for making fabulous fruit smoothies for you and your pals.
Shout about it
Goals aren't like wishes - you don't have to keep them a secret. Telling people what you're up to gives you less room to fail. Having a team behind you makes winning easier. One trick is to tell the person least likely to support you - reaching a goal is twice as sweet when you prove someone wrong.
Write it down
We record our resolutions with enthusiasm on January 1. But where do you write them? On your computer or in a journal that's opened once in a blue moon? They need to be in your face, where you can see them every day. Your daily diary, the fridge or the bathroom mirror are hot spots.
Take pride in your past
We often make resolutions to change who we are because we don't like ourselves. Stop that now - you are beautiful just as you are.
Change is good, but so is the journey that led you to this point. Take pride in what you have achieved so far, regardless of what anybody else thinks. We can't move forward without respecting our past.
What makes you happy - really?
Forget what magazines, the Net and celebs tell you life's about. Happiness, for you, could be growing bonsai trees or writing poems - if that's the case, make it one of your resolutions. Make a New Year promise that works for you, not anybody else.
As you put the finishing touches to your resolutions, take a moment to be grateful for what you have. A gratitude session each day is one of the best ways to face the future with confidence and a smile.
Young Post wishes you all a happy, healthy 2011!