According to historians, New Year’s resolutions have been occupying our early-winter thoughts for at least 4,000 years. The ancient Babylonians made vows to repay debts and return borrowed items to curry favor with their gods, and most modern cultures carry on at least part of that tradition with contemplative self-reflection as the year winds to a close. While you may not be making a sacrifice to Janus like the ancient Romans did or attending a Covenant Renewal service like the early Methodists, this time of year may still have you thinking about ways to improve on your actions and thoughts in the coming months. Here at The Woodlands at Furman, we’re resolved to make 2019 the best year on record, and we’re using these principles to do it.

Keep It Simple!

Rather than writing out a long list of wishes and dreams, turn your resolutions into concrete tasks whenever possible. Though it may be tempting to make grand pronouncements like, “I’m going to be a better person,” it’s more effective to follow the lead of the ancient Babylonians and pare your goals to their essence. You could start by returning a long-forgotten borrowed book, or you could set a date to clear out your closet. Focus on actions like calling your children once a week rather than making vague promises to “do better at staying in touch.” If you’re able to check off one item, your success might make it easier to keep a positive trend going throughout the year!

Head Toward, Not Away

Experts say that putting a constructive spin on your goals can help you achieve them. Instead of resolving to argue with your spouse less, try striving toward a goal like complimenting your spouse twice a day. “I’m going to stop eating so many sweets” could become “I’m going to treat myself to something sweet twice a week.” “Sign up for a water-aerobics class” sounds much more fun than “quit being lazy!” Transforming negative resolutions into their positive counterparts helps keep your focus on the goal, not the start line.

Share to Succeed

If you want to look back on 2019 with a sense of satisfaction, display your resolutions prominently. Not only will you be more likely to keep your promises to yourself but you might also inspire others to do the same. Try these fun ideas:

  • Head to the craft store to pick out a boldly colored piece of stationery or a canvas and draw or paint your resolutions to make them more memorable.
  • Print the key parts of your resolutions in a striking font, and frame them. When others ask why you framed those words or phrases, you’ll be reminded of your goals and might gain a resolution partner who wants to join you on the same path.
  • Search online for “New Year’s resolutions printables” and take some of the guesswork out of planning for success. You’ll find pre-designed sheets that you can print, fill out, and display.

Talk About It

The more you talk to others about what you want to accomplish, the more likely you are to learn something helpful. What’s worked for them might work for you, too! Ask a friend to be your resolution buddy, and cheer each other on to stay the course throughout the year. Consider scheduling regular meetings to track your progress, beginning with a lunch or a dinner on New Year’s Day. While you share traditional fare like black-eyed peas and collard greens, you can also share your hopes and goals for 2019 and how you plan to achieve them.

Whatever your resolutions, you’ll find plenty of support at The Woodlands, from healthy food options in the Evergreen Dining Room to exercise classes and an activities calendar chock full of ways to socialize with others. Happy New Year!

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