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New resolutions need plan to work
As the season of giving — and sweets — ends, many people are resolving to create new habits in 2014.
One of the most common New Year’s resolution is getting in shape, which is why Tara Thompson, a receptionist at Mountain Valley Fitness and Health, is getting ready for a busy January. Thompson hasn’t worked at the gym long enough to experience the first-of-the-year rush, but she has been warned by co-workers.
“There’s a big increase around the first and then they dwindle off,” Thompson said. “The majority don’t stick with it.”
Mountain Valley launched a promotion in November, but Thompson said most people haven’t utilized it yet.
“They don’t want to start it until the first of the year, so we’ll see who actually follows through,” Thompson said.
Dr. Marianne Weaver, a La Grande psychologist, says January is a time when people vow to make positive changes in their lives. Sometimes that means giving up an addiction. More people join 12-step groups in January than in any other month.
“Anything they’ve been putting off for the rest of the year, January is the time they resolve,” Weaver said.
Resolutions, however, don’t always yield the best results.
“I think in some ways people confuse resolutions and goals,” said Weaver, who is the director of counseling services at Eastern Oregon University. “Goals are really good to have because they provide kind of a mark for us to shoot for. Resolutions, I think a lot of times, come out of an emotional decision-making process.”
Goals, the term Weaver prefers to use, are only achievable if there is a logical plan of action to go with them, Weaver said.
Almost as important is having someone to answer to.
“They need to almost always include some sort of accountability,” Weaver said.
Sometimes putting money on the line — like paying for a monthly gym membership — helps, too.
“It’s got to cost a person something to not meet the goal,” Weaver said. “Each person has to figure out what the value of the goal is.”
Often, Weaver said, people can sabotage their resolutions by thinking they need to simply try harder.
“It’s not an issue of trying harder. It’s an issue of trying something different,” she said.
And if something different still doesn’t work, a person may need to re-evaluate the goal and the spiritual significance it has to them.
“A lot of times for people, they need to dig deeper inside themselves to find why a particular goal is important for them,” Weaver said. “If that goal is not connected to who they are, they’re not going to be successful.”