THE WAY I SEE IT #25 : By Darren Murphy

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FIRST and foremost, let me use this opportunity to wish you all a happy New Year. Yes, I know, over

a week has passed since the beer-drinking, hand-shaking and singing of Auld Lang Syne, but with this

being my first post of 2013, I feel it’s only right to wish you all the best.

The New Year provides us with the chance to start over; and many of us use this time to change things

we feel are holding us back in life, by creating specific goals. These are designed to improve our

way of living and maybe even the lives of other people. This sounds like a great idea, it is a great idea

but let’s be brutally honest, how many of us actually stick to our New Year resolutions?

In fact, you might be reading this and you have already failed to stick to those strict rules you set

yourself on January 1. Don’t be too hard on yourself, though, as statistics tell us that very few of us ever

commit to our New Year resolutions long term and most of us have given in at the end of the first

week! This is why I think it’s important we moderate our ambitions, maybe too many of us are trying

to achieve too much too quickly. Then again maybe we just tend to quit at the first

signs of a struggle or our resolutions have suddenly become less important to us than we first thought.

This leads me to the question: What can we do to make sure we stick to resolutions?

I think it’s important we make our aims realistic. Maybe you feel a bit overweight and you want to

drop a couple of sizes. You’ve worked hard on your fitness for the first two weeks of the year and

you get to that defining moment of standing on the scales when, the reading on the scales is only

slightly lower if any at all from the last time you weighed yourself. This is disheartening, but it’s not

a reason to quit. Things take time. Pull your trousers back on, you won’t need a belt just yet and

continue what you’ve already started over the next couple of weeks. Set your goals from week to

week instead of the entire year. That way it’s much more likely you will commit to your resolution. At

the end of every week take a few moments to think about your achievements that particular week.

It’s a far more rewarding and easier way to stick to your goals, whatever they may be.

Maybe you’ve given yourself several targets for the year, but we can’t do everything all at once. Narrow your focus to one resolution at a time, and hopefully the results will be better than trying to change several aspects of your life all at once.

Celebrate your successes. Associate a week of hard work with something nice. This way when things aren’t going so great use that nice reward at the end of the week as motivation. For example, say you’re partial to the odd beverage or two and your aim is to cut down on your intake. After a week of not touching alcohol, treat yourself to a small amount. Don’t you dare tackle the whole bottle, though, and remember to put the lid back on!

Another thing to remember is that creating goals to improve your life doesn’t have to be restricted

to the New Year. It’s your life, so you can make these changes at any given time. Look to friends and

family for support and talk about your goals. You never know, other people might have ideas that

can help you realise your aims.

Good luck, people. I’m off to pour the Jack Daniels down the sink and find my gym kit. Hope 2013

brings you everything you hoped for!