Want to be an even better version of yourself in 2013 – and need a common resolution example (or two or three)?
Start by looking over the old standbys. According to the U.S. government, the most popular vows are as follows: drink less alcohol, eat healthy food, get a better education, get a better job, get fit, lose weight, manage debt, manage stress, quit smoking, save money, take a trip, volunteer to help others, and reduce, reuse and recycle. Phew! Fortunately, to help you, usa.gov also links to resources.
Try less daunting changes. Two years ago, I suggested nine fun, easy New Year's resolutions, which included seeing the best movies of the year before the Oscars, trying five new restaurants or five new recipes, planning a trip to a new place, or experimenting with an offbeat form of exercise, such as ballroom dancing.
Focus on a fun dream. Why make your resolution something you dread doing? Think about your answer to the question, "I've always wanted to (fill in the blank)." Then make it come true.
Come up with a worthy goal you can do while sitting. Promise to tackle some of the best books of 2012. For starters, check out Publishers Weekly's list. And why not read the same title as your kids and hold a family discussion? A few of my favorites from the past year: The Fault in Our Starsfor older teens, Cleopatra's Moonfor young teens, and The False Princefor tweens. And think about starting a book group.
Spend more time with your sweetheart. Nashua, N.H., psychologist Carl Hindy, co-author of If This Is Love, Why Do I Feel So Insecure?, suggests setting aside a specific day for going out with your honey. "It's verifiable, and you can see if you're not sticking with it," he says. "If date night is every Wednesday, you'll know if two Wednesdays pass without follow-through."
Sign up for recurring events. Season tickets, a series of 12 dance lessons, or a semester-long course are good "ways you can try to take the 'optional' feeling out of the mix," says Hindy.
Get a partner. If you get another person to join you in an exercise or cooking class (or anything else), you're more likely to stick to it, says Hindy.
Try group goals and competitions. The winning team at work, for example, could get a prize (and, ideally, share it), says Hindy.
Put the 2013 resolutions into a time capsule. Open it in a year, says Hindy. "Maybe your kids can help set the rewards and punishments." If the goal is "lose weight," tuck a "before" photo into the capsule, he says.
Feel free to set resolutions at another time of year. My 16-year-old says the beginning or end of the school year would be a more "logical" time than January 1. And my husband makes goals, such as completing a 100-mile bike ride, when the mood strikes him.
Vow to be a nicer person. Hokey, sure. But you can tell yourself you need to give at least one compliment per day. If the Grinch could change, you can, too.
Ready to answer, "What's my resolution?"
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