Struggling to be Resolute? This New Year, Choose Discipline

New Year’s resolutions have a funny way of slipping our grasp. The concept has become so trite it’s almost self-defeating. Fingers secretly crossed, we sometimes declare these lofty intentions with a giggle, knowing the burdensome new routines will be cast off in a few short weeks.

However, there’s a way to avoid these failures of will. Using skills we’ve had since childhood, it is possible to achieve better eating habits, fitness routines and other goals we know will improve the quality of our lives and keep us out of the doctor’s office.

Of course, we’d be remiss if we failed to acknowledge that select group of seeming superhumans among us who are particularly adept at easily slipping into new, fortuitous routines. But, are they really that different from the rest of us?

No.

They simply utilize habits we all formed at our parents’ direction, w hen we were just children. Habits like washing with soap, brushing our teeth and not smoking cigarettes stuck with us – not just because Mom and Dad said so. Rather, we still practice these healthy habits today because, as we got older and smarter, we came to realize the benefits of said habits.

Teeth brushing is a no-brainer, just like regular bathing. Both are self-evident.

So, why not apply that same rather matter-of-fact knowledge to our New Year’s resolutions? If we resolve to eat better and exercise, then reinforce those resolutions with the same horse sense self-discipline that drives us to brush our teeth and bathe daily, how can we fail?

New habits illustrate our priorities. Old habits offer the same self-reflection, but in different way. Let’s face it: if new habits were easy to form, they’d wait until we were teenagers to teach us to talk. In fact, people like me may not have learned to talk at all. And who could blame my parents? But, I digress.

Routines that maintain and improve our health are, obviously, taught because of their life-long health benefits. We’re taught these things because they’re the nuts and bolts of self care.

If it sounds easier said than done, you’re right. Healthy new habits are sometimes difficult to embrace, while older, more detrimental ones struggle mightily to endure, in spite of what might be negative effects on our health. Yet, each of us has the power to overcome old habits and establish new, healthier ones.

Just remember … when you’re brushing your teeth and washing with soap, you should also be eating a better diet and getting some periodic cardio. If we make our new, healthier habits part of our fundamental routines, New Year’s resolutions will become unnecessary. You will have empowered yourself with the deep-seated practices instilled during our formative years.

Good luck, hang in there, and happy new year!

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