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A clean slate, new beginning, next chapter, turning over a new leaf…the new year has a long tradition of serving as a great opportunity to make changes in your life. New Year’s resolutions are promises that you make to yourself, ideally to improve your life over the coming year, whether it’s developing a good habit, breaking a bad habit, or something in between.

The creation of New Year’s resolutions is nothing new. In fact, the tradition dates back approximately 4,000 years, to the ancient Babylonians making promises to their gods. For subsequent centuries, the practice carried on via other religious observances.

In modern times, resolutions tend to be based on self-improvement including weight loss, healthy eating, fitness, education, finances, relationships and more.

The truth is that the clear majority of New Year’s resolutions made, are not in fact kept, for reasons including, but not limited to unrealistic expectations. Nevertheless, setting resolutions is potentially beneficial, whether or not they are successfully fully achieved.

The objective of setting resolutions is to identify ways to benefit your life and your health. That can only be a good thing. By taking a careful look at yourself, you can determine what is working, what isn’t, and what you might be able to change.

Judy Caplan, on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics on ShareCare.com, says that New Year’s resolutions are “always a good idea. A fresh start and clean canvas provide an opportunity for change. When you commit to change, whether verbalized or not, you are taking the first step to whatever it is you want to accomplish.”

Beyond personal resolutions, resolving to help the greater Naperville community is a project we can all take on. Whether it’s to support the many wonderful local shops and restaurants here in town, or donating to or volunteering at local not-for-profits, combining your personal resolutions with a few that help the greater good is always a nice idea.

And of course there are many opportunities to participate in fitness, programs, activities and volunteer work within Monarch Landing.

Even if you’re unable to keep your resolutions, just identifying them in and of itself, provides motivation to work towards something that might make your life better.

When you are able to stick to your resolutions, you’ll have a wonderful sense of accomplishment.

Here are 10 pointers to New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Write down your goals.
  2. Be realistic.
  3. Connect your goals to something meaningful to you. Determine why your goal is important to you. i.e. I want to lose weight because it will make me feel more attractive.
  4. Break your goals into smaller milestones which are easier to achieve and give you a great sense of accomplish.
  5. Break down your objectives into shorter time frames—like three months. It’s too difficult to create resolutions for a full year.
  6. While setting goals, reflect on what you’ve learned over the past year.
  7. Do one thing at a time; don’t try to do everything at once. Once you’ve accomplished a goal, move on to the next.
  8. Consider replacing rather than breaking habits.
  9. Try sticking it out for at least three weeks, at which time a new habit becomes more second nature.
  10. Cut yourself some slack! Don’t consider a misstep a failure, and keep trying!

Happy and healthy New Year to you and your loved ones!