One of my favorite movies from the early 90's is Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray. If you have never seen it, here's a link to the trailer. A brief synopsis is that it's about a weatherman who keeps re-living Groundhog Day over and over and over again. Once he figures out that he's stuck in what seems like a never-ending time loop, he starts to work towards having a perfect day. He gets to use trial and error to keep finding combinations that work in his favor in the encounters that he continues to have over and over once the day resets for him.
When it comes to New Year's resolutions, everyone has the best of intentions to keep them going throughout the entire year. However, plenty of studies have shown that life happens, excuses start to be made, and pretty soon a majority of those positive changes have been discarded along the wayside and given up for lost well before they even become habits and party of our daily routine.
There are several ways to successfully keep your New Year's resolutions. First, they should be challenging but also attainable. If there is no way that you can succeed or even get through the first couple of days, it will be a lot easier to give up on them. However, if you set goals that you can reach and that can be measured or monitored daily or at least weekly, you have a big sense of satisfaction that you have accomplished it as you do it. For example, my goal/resolution for 2012 is to do 100 pushups and situps each day. For some, this might be easy and for others it might seem impossible. It's been a challenge for me as I wasn't doing any prior to attempting this, but it has gotten easier as my body has gotten used to it. It's already becoming part of my morning routine and that's where being able to daily check it off my mental to-do list is helping me strive towards my goal.
Another way to successfully reach your goal or keep your resolution is to be accountable to someone about doing this. Every day, I post on Daily Mile after I've done my workout and the people who follow me on the site help encourage and hold me accountable to keep doing it. This adds powerful positive reinforcement to what I am trying to do.
Finally, don't beat yourself up if you have an occasional slip up along the way. For me, I know that there will come a day when my schedule makes it tough to find the 15-20 minutes I need to get my workout done. My body also might not feel like doing this some day, especially since I have a couple of marathons on the docket and you tend to be pretty sore and stiff after running one. However, I know that this daily choice has already benefited me and I want to keep it going.
So, in honor of February 2nd being Groundhog Day, let's give those New Year's resolutions a do-over if you have slipped up or if you forgot to come up with any. And, if you are doing great, give yourself a big pat on the back and keep doing what you are doing. I would love to hear what your resolution or goal is for this year and by posting a comment you are taking the first step to being held accountable to reaching your goal. Whether the groundhog sees its shadow or not, this is one prognostication we can all help each other do! Hopefully, we'll all be celebrating all the great progress we've made when February 29th rolls around and we celebrate Leap Day by jumping for joy. :)