It’s a new year! Time to evaluate the past year, what went right, what went wrong, where things happened, good or bad, that you could control or what happened that was beyond your control. Rather than make “resolutions” that may or may not last, how about thinking about making “changes” instead?

Change? Resolution? What’s the Difference?

Simply put, a resolution means you are resolving to do something different. You are promising yourself you will lose weight, eat healthier, save money, go to a gym, or be more patient with your kids or grandma. Change means you are actually doing it! A resolution can be a major alteration to your lifestyle, a change can be just as meaningful, but smaller and more achievable.

OK, how do I decide what to change, then?

Make a list of the things that you would like to do better or differently. It can be as simple as remembering to brush your teeth twice a day, or being sure to clean your tongue every day to keep your breath fresher and your mouth healthier. It can be remembering to eat breakfast, finding a way to a better night’s sleep, or not forgetting your mother-in-law’s birthday again. 😉 When you have finished that list, take off the easiest and the hardest items. Be realistic. Then review the list again and choose one or two goals that seem to be important and achievable.

Make your changes slowly but surely

Once you have chosen the one thing or habit you want to change, see how you can take baby steps to achieve that goal. Don’t kill yourself with seeking an impossible or immediate result, but, rather, see how you can take the steps to achieve the change gradually. Here are a few simple examples:

  • Can’t sleep at night? Try to make changes in how you approach bedtime, such as:
    • Turn off the tv – maybe the glare is keeping you up
    • Change the thermostat – if the room is too hot or cold, your sleep pattern can be affected
    • Try reading instead of stimulating your eyes and brain with that video game on your phone
    • Try some aromatherapy – take a bath with lavender oil or use a diffuser to cleanse the air
  • Do you get in trouble because you forget birthdays?
    • Buy a calendar
    • Use the calendar 😉 enter everyone’s birthdays into it, and put a star or check mark on the day that is a week prior to each birthday—after all, you want to know in advance, right?
    • Buy a pack of generic birthday cards so you always have one on hand! You might even get some special ones for your special relatives or friends.
    • Write them out, stamp them and put them into a tickler file…and be sure to pay attention to that calendar!

Whether you have big changes to make or little ones, the idea is to make the right ones that are the most important and most achievable. Failure comes when a task is so massive that you can’t figure out how to approach it – but the same task can be completed with planning and baby steps. Want to climb a mountain? Start with a hill, then a bigger hill, then a smaller mountain…then on to Everest! You can do it! Just take your time and the right, achievable steps to effect the change you want.

When Change Feels Impossible