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New Year SunflowerMore and more I hear people say that they don’t make resolutions for each new year, and I realize that it is as difficult for others as it is for me to keep them for longer than a few days (or hours).

This year however, I am doing fairly well, resolution-wise, but this comes from years of trial and error. Here are five things I’ve learned from making and breaking resolutions (and sometimes just not making them at all):

  1. Make just one resolution. My only resolution this year is to drink more water. I fully comprehend how important it is to my health and well-being to drink a lot of H2O, but I often find myself dehydrated anyway. Dehydration has a ripple effect in terms of fatigue, congestion, hunger, headaches, and concentration, so I figured I’d really be working on other problems too (love the positive end of the ripple effect). Of course it is perfectly acceptable to have other goals, dreams, and intentions for the new year, but it’s better to have one focus when it comes to your resolutions.
  2. Make a resolution that can give you immediate positive feedback. Although there are times when I have to force myself to drink water, I usually feel better right away when I do. That knowledge makes it a little easier to make sure I have water at my fingertips and to periodically choose water over other beverages that might not be as healthy for me.
  3. Put reminders of your resolution all throughout your spaces and your days. I have found that if I put a full water bottle on my table the night before, I am more likely to grab it as I am running out the door in the morning. If I keep a glass of water by my sink, I drink it whenever I am in the kitchen, and if I keep water in my car, I tend to drink it at stoplights. Otherwise I can easily get to the end of the day and realize I have only had coffee or tea or juice to drink. Other ideas that have worked for me include colorful notes, reminders in my phone, and natural roadblocks (putting something right in my way so that I trip over it).
  4. Don’t give up if you miss a day or two. This is a big one for everyone, but especially for perfectionist, all-or-nothing personalities. Although it is certainly gratifying to get a 100% on something, it is usually neither necessary nor realistic.
  5. Finally and as always, keep it simple. I prefer reverse-osmosis water (Culligan or Aquafina) for lots of reasons, but I know that if I get fancy that I will find lots of excuses not to keep my resolution. For now then, I am just sticking to plain and simple tap water in the hopes of developing a habit. After I do that, I can worry about what kind of water I’m drinking.

Whether or not you made a resolution at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, I hope you have had a good start to the new year. Drink water, get massages, laugh, cry, read, write, work, relax, dance, and breathe. Here’s to 2013! May it be healthy and full of good accomplishments and surprises.

photo credit: marcomagrini via photopin cc