As mid-summer approaches, we don’t generally think twice about those ambitious resolutions made in the hopeful, spirited, early hours of New Year’s Eve. Back then, even just a few months ago, everything seemed possible, didn’t it?
For some, losing 10 pounds, quitting smoking, decluttering the basement, going to bed earlier, finding a new job, spending less and saving more, or lending their skills to the community may have been achievable goals, and once accomplished the same people may have set new goals and resolutions. But for most of us, busy, demanding lives, frustration at the lack of immediate success in executing our resolutions, and the simple passage of time tend to push those earnest objectives to the back of the closet, along with the treadmill.
Want to Dust Them Off?
Experts say revisiting our resolutions at the midyear point and taking even small steps to reinvigorate them can boost our outlook and determination, making them achievable before the year is over. And from a second chance perspective, when reconsidering an old goal, the opportunity exists to refine any that may have become too big and overwhelming when we attempted them.
For Galveston, Texas single mom Lynne Evans, losing 30 pounds by swimsuit season (which can start as early as April in Galveston) was an idea she attacked with gusto, dieting strenuously and joining a gym on January 2. Determined and dedicated, she dove headlong into weight training and cardio classes six days a week. In a short time, the unrealistic schedule she’d set for herself caused her to drop some days but not the weight, because the stringent diet made her weak and she abandoned it too, so she gave up entirely.
“I had to learn to pace myself,” she admitted. “The schedule I’d set and the extreme diet wiped me out, along with the pace I’ve always had to keep with my kids and at work.” Consulting her doctor and a nutritionist and adjusting her diet to healthier, more balanced levels, and working with a trainer (provided free of charge the first time by her gym) to maximize her workouts in less time, Evans achieved her goal in six months rather than an unrealistic three or four. In fact her new found energy and confidence prompted her to take on another of her New Year’s resolutions: making a family project out of clearing the attic for a bright new play space.
In Tucson, part time office manager Terri Smith spent the spring helping her family adjust to a new city when her husband’s job transferred them unexpectedly from Minneapolis. “We had to leave Minnesota where we’d lived since college,” she said, “and where we’d raised our kids for 10 years.” Moving to a new city with young children and job hunting herself took up all of Terri’s time, and her New Year’s resolutions to volunteer at the library or with adult and children’s literacy programs (a manifestation of her love of reading) went by the wayside.
“It took a TV ad about literacy several months later to jog my memory,” she recalled. “I went to the phone and got myself an interview to volunteer the next day.” As it turned out, helping adults and kids read better also had benefits for Terri, besides providing a sense of fulfillment.
“I met so many other volunteers and staff, my husband and I had an instant group of new friends in our new city with whom to socialize, and our kids met their kids as well,” she said.
Whatever your New Year’s resolutions, removing them from the back of the closet or dust bins of your mind can re-engage and energize you. Owning them again with whatever twists and tweaks you may need to apply to make them manageable (even exciting!) can give you the motivation to see them through. With unexpected benefits along the way, a feeling of even great satisfaction may follow next January when, because you’ve achieved your goals, a whole new list of manageable resolutions will be in order!