Dream, Dare, Decide. Resolutions Unmasked

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New Year’s resolutions are a traditional way of starting over or making big changes. Now learn how to dream big and succeed even bigger.

No one likes to make a resolution and watch it fade away like a cloud on a sunny day. We all have a dream we would like to see realized.

Resolutions are a tool that gets us started. However, most of us need a bit more help than just a resolution. Here are some things that just might make all the difference.

1. Have a big dream.

Audacious aims are enticing.

Do you want to run a marathon or a triathlon? Do you want to lose 50 pounds or just enough to fit into clothes you used to love? You can do it if you have tenacity, encouragement, and support.

An ambitious goal frequently motivates those around you. People watch others reaching for their goals and root for them. Some even gladly assist you in practical ways. Ways such as exercising with you or taking on jobs you normally do can help free up your time.

2. Break down enormous dreams into manageable steps.

Consider the word “tiny.” Small steps will get you closer to your final aim.

Look for safe bets. Simply reaching first base can boost your confidence to attempt — and succeed at — harder undertakings. Don’t dismiss simple options. If you begin each plan with “Make a list,” you’ll almost certainly check one box off immediately.

Divide difficult activities into smaller line items and enjoy rushing through the easy things first.

3. Articulate why you are struggling to make a change.

That’s correct. It may be difficult to get enough energy and will to take a hard left toward change.

When you understand why you’re stuck like a burr to old habits and routines, it’s oftentimes easier to figure out what to do about it. Unhealthy behaviors such as overeating and smoking have both immediate, gratifying payoffs and consequences. Therefore, if you’re thinking about making a change, give it some thought.

When the balance of pluses and minuses tips enough to make adopting a new habit more appealing than staying still, you increase your chances of success. Engaging in pleasant parts of an unhealthy activity without engaging in the behavior itself is also beneficial.

For instance, if you enjoy taking a break while smoking, take the break and enjoy it, but discover healthier ways to do it. Otherwise, you’ll be working against a headwind and would be less likely to achieve long-term success.

4. Make a commitment to your dream or goal.

Hold yourself accountable by making a written or verbal promise to those you don’t want to disappoint. This motivates you to persevere in the face of adversity.

One brave soul set up a Facebook page dedicated to her weight-loss ambitions. A less public pledge can be made to your partner or child, a teacher, doctor, boss, or friends.

Do you need more assistance? Post your commitment on Facebook, tweet it to your followers, or look for people who share your dreams online.

5. Present yourself with a medal.

Don’t proclaim yourself a winner until you’ve run the final mile of your big fantasy marathon or shed every undesirable pound.

Health improvements are usually gradual. Encourage yourself to keep going. Do this by pausing to celebrate achievement when you take tiny or tremendous steps toward a goal or a dream.

For example, when you hit 5,000 steps, blast your favorite song. Allow your coach or spouse to give you a pat on the back. Solicit the support of family and friends. In addition, find an online support group and communicate often.

6. Draw lessons from the past.

Consider every failure to make a change as a step toward your goal. Why? Because every genuine endeavor signifies a lesson learned.

When you encounter a snag, take the time to consider what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps you took on too much of a challenge? Therefore, if this is the case, choose a less ambitious project or divide the larger one into smaller steps.

If getting in 30 minutes of exercise in a row never seems to work on busy days, try three 10-minute walks — one before work, one during lunch, and one after work.

7. Express gratitude for your dreams and your abilities.

Forget about perfection. Be grateful for what you have. Express that gratitude to others.

Keep working toward that dream. Set your sights on completing the marathon rather than running it. If you compete to finish, you’ll come out on top even if you end up walking as much as you run.

When it comes to exercise — and so many other objectives we set — you’ll benefit even if you accomplish less than you’d like to. Any activity is always preferable to none. Feel grateful if your aim for Tuesday is a 30-minute workout at the gym but you only get in 10 minutes. It’s enough. Perhaps tomorrow will be better.

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