The latest statistics are in: 30 percent of all resolutions are broken within the first week of the new year. The rest of the lot fold like cheap cameras in less than a month. Not very encouraging. Problem is, we don't really intend to keep them. We only say we are to mess with our own heads and try to be part of the New Year's Resolution Club. Like the preposterous notion that we'll actually eliminate all fats from our diet. Hah! Who are we kidding? Give up cheesecake and pizza? Forever? That's like giving up blinking. It can't be done.
However, every day is fresh, with no mistakes in it - taken from "Anne of Green Gables" by the way. The newly fallen snow presented a beautiful landscape, didn't it? It was clean and new although a bit taxing for travelers. Yet it reminded me of how our lives can be changed, transformed and made new. It's fun to start new with the new year and make some great decisions about what we want. I love a fresh start, as I am sure you do. However, the difficulties arise when the resolution is broken, what then?
Here is a list of the top 10 resolutions:
1. Spend more time with family and friends
3. Tame the bulge by losing weight
4. Quit smoking
5. Enjoy life more
6. Quit drinking
7. Get out of debt
8. Learn something new
9. Help others
10. Get organized
Whether you want to lose weight, stop smoking or accomplish another goal, there is no single solution that works for everyone. You may have to try several different techniques, often through trial and error, in order to achieve your goal. It is during this period that many people become discouraged and give up on their behavior-change goals. The key to maintaining your goals is to try new techniques and find ways to stay motivated.
Psychologists have developed a number of ways to effectively help people change their behavior. Many of these techniques are used by therapists, physicians and teachers. Researchers have also proposed theories to explain how change occurs. One of these theories, known as the "Stages of Change" model, has been used to help people understand the change process. This model demonstrates that change is rarely easy and often requires a gradual progression of small steps toward a larger goal.
Understanding the elements of change, the stages of change and ways to work through each stage can help you achieve your goals.
Let's think of it as baby steps. A baby does not learn to walk all at once. They begin taking steps, falling and getting back up again. They try and try until they succeed, much to the applause of those around them.
You and I will begin our New Year's resolution journey. Though we may stumble and fall, we need to get back up and try again. We need to set small, attainable goals and celebrate victories, but not give into despair when we stumble. Remember: Every day is fresh with no mistakes in it.
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
(Kimberly Short-Wolfe, MA, is a homeschool mom and the counselor at Cornerstone Christian Counseling. To contact her, call 304-637-7018 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.)