The first day of Spring sprung nearly a month ago, and while flowers have bloomed and pollen has accumulated on every surface known to man, temperatures have not yet risen to the pre-summer warmth I typically enjoy leading up to Memorial Day. Given the cool temps (and the fact that my family and I had a cozy fire last night), I could almost be fooled into thinking we’re still in the throes of February.
No matter the temperature, spring is a time of rebirth, of new beginnings – a time when our favorite seasonal foliage bursts forth and when we finally get up the energy to do a bit of cleaning and purging around the house. Spring, in fact, is a lot like that other time of year known for the opportunity it gives people to turn over a new leaf – New Year’s Day.
Given that we’re four months into 2016, perhaps now would be a good time to check in on your New Year’s Resolution. Did you make it to the gym as often as you’d planned? Are you drinking all that water you neglected to imbibe in 2015? Have you been getting more sleep? Saving more money? No? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Some reports say that as many as 80 percent of resolutions are broken by the second week in February, and that just 8 percent of resolutions are kept and considered a “success.”
Given that I can’t even remember my resolution, I’m not surprised that the fail rate is so high, which brings me back to my reflections on springtime. Today is as just as good as any to reevaluate and jumpstart your resolutions. Tomorrow will always be a new day – the perfect one in which to get back on the wagon of self-improvement. The American Psychological Association has a few good tips that will hopefully help those resolutions seem achievable after all:
- Start small.
- Change one behavior at a time.Talk about it.
- Don’t beat yourself up.
- Ask for support.
The first two seem well-paired. Wake up tomorrow determined to start with one realistic behavior change. It could be getting an extra 15 minutes of sleep every day, or drinking an extra 4 ounces of water. Perhaps it’s buying one less coffee from Starbucks so that you have an extra $6 at the end of the week. These are all, hopefully, easily manageable tasks that will help you feel a sense of accomplishment as spring bleeds into summer. And as summer arrives, you can perhaps set your mind to new goals – adding another small task to the one you’ve already conquered. Before you know it, the holidays will be here and you’ll count yourself among the truly dedicated 8 percent who’ve succeeded at maintaining their resolutions.
Don’t let this season of new beginnings pass by without pausing to reflect on what you hope to still accomplish this year. 2017 – and another set of resolutions – will be here before you know it!