Surveys say that very few people keep their New Year’s promise, but here are some ways to succeed with your resolutions
Almost all of us, at one time or another, has made a New Year’s Resolution. But how many of us have actually kept them all year long? According to several surveys conducted in 2005, 88% of Americans make a New Year’s Resolution, but a mere 8% keep them.
What happened with the other 92%?
About 45% of Americans give up as soon as the end of January. Maybe its because our expectations are too high, we become discouraged, or we simply aren’t motivated anymore.
Here are a few tips for you to stay on track this New Year.
1.) Start Now. We’ve all heard the line, “I’ll diet…tomorrow”, that tactic rarely, if ever works; every day counts. The sooner you begin, the better.
2.) Set reasonable goals. If you expect too much too soon, chances are that you will become discouraged quickly, and will give up your resolution. Take it a step at a time.
3.) Recognize small progress. Most likely you won’t achieve your goal in one week or even in one month. But there will be little steps along the way, and in order to motivate and encourage yourself to keep moving forward, make note of the steps you’ve taken to get where you are.
4.) Be persistent. Everyone’s bound to slip every once in a while, but its all about trying again.
In a study conducted by Elizabeth Miller, a University of Washington doctoral candidate in psychology, and Alan Marlatt, director of the university's Addictive Behaviors Research Center University of Washington, in 1998, said that of the people who actually succeeded in their resolutions, 17% made more than six attempts.
Here are some of the top New Years Resolutions for 2008 (information from www.usa.gov ), and some ways to get started.
1.) Lose Weight
Seems like every year, losing weight is always one of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions. Ellen Como, host of the Lifestyle Fitness Show on KHTS AM 1220, said that many people have the wrong idea when they think of trimming off some extra weight. “The goal should be to get healthy not skinny.”
When it comes to shedding pounds, Como said that there are four necessary factors. “If you want to lose weight there are four key points; resistance training, flexibility, cardio, and nutrition. It’s also important to remember to keep your goals realistic. If you haven’t been working out at all lately, making a promise to exercise an hour a day may be too much. Start with 20 minutes and work up. If you don’t have any workout equipment, simply walk outside for 10 minutes, then walk home and there you have it, a 20 minute workout.”
Como also insists that you have to be motivated and persistent in your goal. “There is no shortcut to losing weight, you can’t cut corners, you have to dedicate yourself. To really lose weight, you have to do some exercise 5-6 days a week, and eat 5-6 meals.”
But, don’t take extreme measures. “Starving yourself never works. In fact, that’s how Sumo wrestlers gain weight, they starve themselves, then eat until they’re full,” says Como.
Lastly, Como said the key is to love your body. “Everyone should remember to love your body for the way it is. Don’t shoot for the magazine cover body, shoot for the healthy you, the best your individual body can be.”
2.) Pay Off Debt
Christmas has come and gone, and for many, the bills are rolling in. If you’ve found yourself in debt this past year, and have resolved to pay it off, here are some tips for you.
Find out how much you owe. After you get an exact number, you have a goal to reach.
Look at your everyday expenses, and cut what you can. Maybe downgrade your Starbucks from a Venti to a Tall. You might have to give up a few things depending on your budget, but its important to save money wherever you can.
Try to pay more than the minimum. After a while, it becomes a habit to only pay the bare minimum on our bills. With interest piling up, and the bills eventually will get out of hand.
3.) Get A Better Job
Looking for a new job for the New Year? If so, you have to make your resume stand out. Start by listing your technical knowledge first. In a time of new technology, electronic skills are essential. Also remember to list your skills in order of importance. You want to impress the reader, so always put the most important skill first.
Always mention previous experience. Employers like to see that you not only know about your field, but you’ve also had experience in your field before.
Never sell yourself short. Treat your resume as an advertisement, don’t be afraid to list your achievements.
And after you’ve written up your resume, it may be time for an interview, so remember:
Be Early- This is important, it shows your respect for the interviewer’s time, and will hopefully leave a lasting impression.
Never slouch, don’t use slang, and always keep eye contact.
And always remember to say ‘thank you’ and shake their hand after the interview has come to an end.
4.) Get A Better Education
If you’re looking to get a better education, you have your sources right here in Santa Clarita. College of the Canyons has opened registration for their Spring 2008 Semester, with classes on both Valencia and Canyon Country campus’, along with numerous online courses.
If you will be attending COC for the first time, note that you must fill out an application along with completing an assessment test. To register for courses, for more information or to set up an assessment test date, (888) 206-STAR or (661) 255-2867.
5.) Spend More Time With Family
Time with family is priceless, and as 2007 comes to a close, many wonder if they spent enough time with their family. Maybe your family can schedule a weekly or even monthly trip to the park. Here are a list of local parks and some of the features they offer.
Some Parks in Valencia:
Central Park- Home to Central Bark Dog Park, picnic tables, wireless internet, baseball diamond, and child play area
Valencia Heritage Park- tennis courts, child play areas, picnic tables, BBQ’s
Bridgeport Park- baseball diamond, picnic tables, child play areas
Three Parks in Canyon Country:
North Oaks Park- swimming pool, community room, BBQ’s, picnic tables, child play areas
Canyon Country Park- baseball diamonds, community room, BBQ’s, picnic tables, child play area,
Oak Springs Park- basketball park, picnic tables, child play area,
A Few Parks in Newhall:
Old Orchard Park- basketball court, baseball diamond, community rooms, BBQ’s, picnic tables, child play area
Newhall Park- swimming pool, basketball court, baseball diamond, community room, BBQ’s, child play area, picnic tables,
Valencia Glen Park- tennis courts, basketball court, swimming pool, community room, BBQ’s, child play areas, picnic tables
Hart Park Heritage Junction (located on San Fernando Road)
Placerita Nature Center (located off of Placerita Canyon)
For a complete list of parks and their features, click here .
6.) Volunteer Service
With the New Year coming up, some people have resolved to make a difference in their community, through volunteer service. Janine Prado, a Community Services Administrator for the City of Santa Clarita said that there are many different types of service opportunities available for everyone. “The City of Santa Clarita has so many opportunities available year around, for youth, teens, and adults. Santa Clarita truly is a place where the residents come out to help each other by volunteering.”
Some upcoming volunteer opportunities include:
Carousel Therapeutic Riding Ranch- For Teens (15+) and Adults
Assist in riding lessons (side walkers).
Cleaning around the ranch.
Horse experience beneficial, but not required.
Minimum of 20 volunteer hours required.
Contact: Eileen Johnstone (661) 268-8010
Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita- For Teens and Adults
Answer phones: Tuesdays 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Childcare (paired with Staff):
Monday and Friday 9:45 am - 11:45 am
Thursday 4:45 pm - 8:45 pm
Maintenance and Repairs- Help with general repairs as needed
Contact: Angela Muhl at email@example.com 
Hunger Defense Fund- For Teens and Adults
Tuesdays and Thursdays 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Saturdays 9:00 am – 11:30 am
Sort and store food donations, sort and hang clothing:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Contact: Wendi Lancy (661) 299-9273
For a complete list of local volunteer opportunities, click here .