Make Your New Year Resolutions Stick

Skip Stephens, Assistant ChiefAs we break into a New Year, we may be reminded of all our previous New Year’s resolutions that we failed to achieve. Tread mills and elliptical machines in gyms are always full for the first 2 or 3 weeks of January. Regular gym users laugh when they see the annual influx of people with good intentions that will soon be back to their old ways. But how do we maintain that magical energy that works for us for a short time every January? You know what I am talking about… the energy that not only gets us in the gym, but inspires us to start a new diet, to read a new book, begin a writing project, consider going back to school or whatever it is that you really want to do. Unfortunately, we usually see this magic and our good intentions melt away with the warmth of spring.

The best way to make sustainable, desired changes in your life is to create new habits. It is difficult to launch a new behavior or routine, but once established, you will find it difficult to break. Yes, even good habits are hard to break! New habits can set forth positive momentum in your life that will make you feel great about yourself. One good habit can lead to another and another. I have recently found an app for my smartphone that is helping me create new (good) habits. Search “habits” in your app store and you will find numerous applications that will help motivate you and keep track of your progress. The one I use was free to download and it logs the amount of water I drink, the pages I read, my exercise habits and much more. It also makes me log my unwanted behaviors such as drinking soda and eating food late in the evening.

New technology aside, I profess that your greatest motivation tool is as old as mankind: your true will. Whatever you have the will to do, you will do. If you want to lose a few pounds but can’t stop eating desserts, then your will to eat desserts is stronger than your will to lose those pounds. There is nothing stronger than true human will, which can work both for you, and against you. Why can’t you stop eating those desserts? Because human will is so strong. So, you have to ask yourself what you really want; what is truly most important to you? You have to be honest. If you are absolute about making positive changes, you can. If you decide that you truly want something, the next step is to root out all of your excuses and self-doubt. Your mind can be your biggest inhibitor, but can also be your biggest asset. Believe in yourself; take a leap of faith. Stop making excuses and listen to your true desires. Life is too short and you only get once chance to live it. There is a lot of truth to that 90’s song that told us that if you free your mind, the rest will follow. Change your will. Change your thoughts. Change your habits. Change your life! Best of luck to you in 2017!

Skip Stephens, Assistant Chief
Cottleville Fire District
St. Charles, MO 63304