The origins of New Year’s resolutions dates backA�centuries ago to pre-Christian times when the Romans decided to make January the month where resolutions with a moral intention, (usually to be good to others), were announced.A� AlthoughA�the resolution itself A�took on various forms over the period, the intent was to essentially do away withA�the bad andA�look forward to the goodA�(for an interesting and complete article on the subjectA�see:http://billpetro.com/history-of-new-years-resolutions).A� For the most part, the tradition of New Year’s Eve and all it’s moral intentions has been carried through the centuries and is still met with great fanfare and celebration today.A� New Year’s Eve, as we know it to be, is a wonderful celebratory way to go “out with the old and in with the new”-out with old habits, bad memories; time to bring in fresh ideas and set new goals for the upcoming year-or is it?A� Is New Year’s Eve a time to place such demands on ourselves or are we setting ourselves up, once again, for disappointment?
There are many articles published on the continual debate of whether or not New Year’s resolutions are such a good thing and if you are going to make them, how on earth do you plan to facilitate the change in your habits, your person, your lifestyle? An article from the Guardian in the UK,http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/28/new-years-resolutions-self-improvement?intcmp=239,A�highlightsA�such topics and suggests some tools for change. The discussion, based on some cognitive theory,A�mentions that change must be active; not passive-it must be engaged in: “I’ve often recommended that people keep a notebook, write down the pattern of your habits. That forces you to remember why you did what you did.” Changes also need to be specific, (not general)A�and detailed-progress must also be tracked. It is also very important that we do not listen to others when they tell us we should do something-we need to rely on our own common sense to know what we should do. Worthy of note as well is that often people are not “set-up” to not only follow through with the grandiose, life-changing aspirations they have set out to achieve, but more importantly, they have no coping mechanism set up for when they have a set-back or for when their plan just simply doesn’t work.
The best advice then becomes this-focus on what is in your control and accept that a lot of things are simply not! Realize that many resolutions are typically unrealistic unless paired with a “follow-through” plan-ideas are great, but an action plan needs to be well thought-out and followed through with to achieve the desired result, one that you could ultimately be happy with.A�Decide why the change is so important to you-is itA�for the outside appearances? Or are you simply masking a more “internal” personal issue?A�A�Remember too, that we are all human beings and quite often, our idealistic ideas of who we should be or what we should do, canA�a lot of the time,A�create more stress and less happiness in the long run.A� As stated by Dr. Oz, operate in a sphere of wellnessA�in these four areas and look forward to consistent, pleasureable and positive growth in your life:
1.A� Exercise:A� Do weight-bearing exercises to build bone mass; do 2-30 minute strength training sessions per week toA� increase metabolism; maintain an waist size of 35 inches or less to lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol.
2.A� Eat well:A� Consume fewer calories and more protein as you age to keep pace withA�your changing metabolism; Squash type 2 diabetes by eating at least 25 grams of fiber per day;A�Add calcium-rich foods to your diet; eat more leafy greens to improve your vision!
3.A� Feed your Mind and Spirit:A� Start your day with a great breakfast; Improve your mental outlook with volunteer work; cultivate close relationships to improve your well-being and increase your longevity; put a good night’s sleep on your “to-do” list!
4. Take Care of Your Heart:A� Monitor key numbers (blood pressure, pulse, cholesterol) BEFORE you develop a health issue; limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day, the optimal amount for reducing your risk of heart disease and stroke; Avoid salt and fast food; stretch to make your body-and possibly your arteries-more flexible.
Be easier on yourself. Whether you are a student studying hard for upcoming exams, a parent juggling the myriad of tasks that family life demands or an elderly person coping with lifeA�changes,A�plan for change but accept that it takes time for changesA�to come to fruition. Work slowly and steadily on alterations in your life and undoubtedly you will succeed. Or…hear this! Maybe you are content just the way you are-that theory then makes New Year’s Eve just another GREAT celebration in your life!
Whatever your passion or plight, Happy New Year-here’s to a progressive 2013!