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Reflections: Let's turn over a new leaf

Let's turn over a new leaf
By William L. Bulla
Weekly Contributing Writer

It's that time of year again. The time when we reflect on the past 365 days, examine our accomplishments and shortcomings, and then determine how THIS year we will make things better. Whether it's losing weight, getting healthier, working harder, mending broken relationships or just being a better person, something about the end of a calendar year causes us to take stock and set goals for improvement.
So-o-o-o-o! Let's turn over a new leaf... not just another leaf of the calendar for one month, but the leaf that takes us to another year! It's a way of making our commitment that is far more important in our life. It is what our New Year's resolutions are all about. It is a time to redo...revamp...redesign our habits and life styles.
Every New Years we celebrate and make resolutions of what we plan to change for the year ahead. Then several weeks later we are slipping away from those resolutions and sliding back to the condition in which we spent the last year. Our intentions were great but our executions of those goals lack a great deal. So what happens next?
Each New Year we have the chance for a clean slate. It is more than simply turning a calendar page. We have a fresh opportunity to break bad habits and make improvements in our life, but we must dedicate ourselves to making it happen. While the making of New Year's resolutions is an annual tradition, the breaking of New Year's resolutions is almost as common. They have become somewhat synonymous with "making promises you don't intend to keep" and "setting unrealistic goals." This New Year most people will make a great number of resolutions. They will examine their accomplishments and shortcomings, and decide how they will make things better in the year ahead. These will be things they want to do, goals they would like to achieve. But most likely in a few short weeks they will have forgotten about these resolutions, which they made with the best intentions on New Years Day!
Resolutions can be a very helpful tool, but you have to approach them in a smart way. I don't know about you, but each year I feel guilty because I have broken resolutions that I really wanted to accomplish when I made the resolutions at New Years. Perhaps the mistake I have made is that I have set too many goals. Or perhaps the goals I set were too lofty for me to reach, or too vague to accomplish. To accomplish our resolutions we must set goals that are practical. Resolutions that can't be measured are doomed to fail before you even begin them. Instead of saying "I want to lose weight this year," set a goal to lose a certain number of pounds. Perhaps, you may even set a month and day as your goal to accomplish it.
A New Year's resolution or a commitment is done to make your new year a better one. Persons making resolutions to reform a habit are people who want to make changes in their lifestyle. They make these promises on New Year's Day, the first day of a brand new year. These resolutions are supposed to be either fulfilled or abandoned by the end of that year.
To accomplish these resolutions requires effort on the part of the person seeking to make the changes. First, they must be specific in what they want to accomplish. Second, they must keep their resolutions simple and achievable. Third, they must plan ahead and be ready to meet all issues that may arise. Fourth, make it officially part of their lifestyle.
Are you really ready to "turn over a new leaf" and take on New Years Resolutions for 2012? I wish you well!

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

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