How to Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions

Author: Alecia Pirulis

JoggingPerhaps it was the giddy idea of a brand new year and a clean slate … or perhaps it was the revelry and champagne toasts. However we got there, roughly 65 percent of us made a resolution on New Year’s Eve. The percentage of people who are actually successful in achieving their resolutions? Eight (8!) percent. It’s no wonder January 17th is Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day – it’s a handy escape hatch when reality sets in.

Popular New Year’s resolutions include: quit smoking, lose weight, get out of debt, and get a better job. And while these are all great goals, chances are good that you’ll be one of the 57 percent ditching your resolutions, so how can you get out of them and still have the satisfaction of knowing you are doing something different in the new year?

Alter your resolution. Perhaps your resolution was so drastic that it will be nearly impossible to keep. If, for example, you resolved to go jogging every single day and you haven’t jogged in years, you could be setting yourself up for sore muscles and another year of not exercising. Instead, try going on a brisk walk two or three times a week. Who knows? Once the walks become habit you may decide to start jogging, after all. (Just remember to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program!)

If you resolved to join a gym, resolve to utilize your apartment complex’s workout room (if they have one) instead – it is nearby so there’s no reason to avoid going and it is indoors so weather won’t be an excuse. Resolve to make it down there at least twice a week – it is a much easier goal to achieve, and if you do get to the exercise room more often you’ll likely feel successful and you won’t give it up. (This is also a great way to meet some of your neighbors!)

Break the resolution up into small, manageable chunks. Instead of vowing to organize your entire apartment, try just organizing your bedroom closet. Gather materials such as a bag for garbage, a box for donations, baskets, totes, and a shoe organizer or two. Take everything out of your closet, give the closet a good cleaning and consider adding/adjusting shelves, and then begin the sorting process: Things that don’t fit or you haven’t worn in a year go in the box for donation. Items that are worn out or damaged in some way go in the garbage bag. Be ruthless – sure, that shirt was expensive but if it doesn’t fit right, ditch it. Use the baskets and totes to organize seasonal or small items such as belts and scarves and place them on a shelf. Hang everything you are keeping back into your closet and voila – a clean, organized closet. You may feel so successful that you’ll tackle the pantry next, and before you know it, you are one of the eight percent. Go, you!

Make it one step at a time. Perhaps you declared in front of friends and family that 2013 is the year you are going to move into a new apartment, find a new job, or move to a new city. Now, you are wondering just how to achieve such a lofty goal. Set up a timeline of what you’d like to accomplish and when. For example, resolve to get your resume up-to-date by February. Then, set a goal for how many positions you want to apply for in a week. If you set this goal, you are more likely to look every week and that perfect new job won’t pass you by.

Perhaps you resolved to make a career change and now you are wondering if that goal is out of reach. First, make a list of your skills and interests. Take a career test online to see what careers best fit you. Once you’ve decided what you want to do, take some steps to obtain the necessary skills. Take an online course or enroll at a local college, and start networking.

Moving to a new city can be a daunting task. If you’ve already chosen the city, begin by researching the area – read up on neighborhoods, schools, living expenses, etc. The right community may not be in the heart of downtown but in a quieter suburb – take the time to research so you know exactly where you want to be. If you know you want to move but aren’t sure where, make a list of possibilities, research them, and narrow the list down to your top two choices. If possible, plan a visit. Start saving – even if you find a job before the big move, you’ll have moving expenses, first and last month’s rent, deposits, and a few unforeseen expenses, so you’ll need to plan ahead. Finally – start sending out resumes and start searching for an apartment.

True, the odds are against us, and January 17’s out-clause may be too tempting to resist. But even if you don’t lose the weight or land the new job, you can take small, easy steps now and eventually that resolution will become a reality – perhaps next year?

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