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How to Salvage Any Blown New Year Resolutions

How to Salvage Any Blown New Year Resolutions

    We are approaching the time of year when many people have already blown their New Year resolutions. For example, according to the fitness industry, a ton of gym memberships are sold from December to February but attendance significantly drops from March and on when people who were hoping to get fit as a New Year resolution will give up.

    This happens year after year for not only health-related resolutions but for pretty well all types including saving money and quitting smoking. If this has already happened to you or if you are on the verge of giving up some of your New Year resolutions, here are some steps you can take to hopefully salvage them.

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    Reconsider the Reasons for Each Resolution

    First, reconsider the reasons behind each of your resolutions just to better understand why you came up with them in the first place. Are they still valid or important?

    Sometimes a New Year resolution might be just a sudden urge that is not really all that important to your life after some time passes. If this is the case, drop the resolution altogether. If the reasons are still solid, then keep the resolutions for the next step.

    Turn Each Resolution into a Defined Goal

    Now for the resolutions that are still important to you, turn them into defined goals. Losing weight or getting in shape is far too general. Instead, set such a resolution as a realistic goal you can measure. For example, lose ten pounds during each remaining month in 2012 is something you can measure. Make sure that your defined goals are realistic by seeing what other people have done who have been successful with similar goals.

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    Plan What You Have to Do Each Week

    Now that you have the end results in mind, plan out what you actually have to do each week in order to achieve those goals you set. This can be setting definite time periods during the week to work out at the gym as well as getting the training from qualified trainers if you need it.

    Physically enter the things you must do each week into your calendar or appointment book just like any other important appointments that you may have each week. This must be on something that you will be referring to each day whether it is a physical calendar or electronic one.

    Monitor Your Progress Over Time

    Most goals that were previously New Year resolutions take time and effort to achieve.  They cannot be done overnight. But accepting the fact that many of your goals will take continued work over the entire year doing a step at a time, you will then be able to monitor your progress over time.

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    If you stray a bit, take immediate action to make up for lost opportunities to work on your goals. Track your progress and adjust the targets as required if they were not originally set very realistically. Don’t forget that for many goals, active participation with other like-minded people rather than attempting everything on your own will help you stay on track.

    (Photo credit: Lifebuoy white against the blue sky and bright sun via Shutterstock)

    By turning your New Year resolutions into longer term, measurable goals over the entire course of the year with actual steps and time allocated for them, you will be able to salvage abandoned resolutions.

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    If you feel brave and honest enough to reveal any already blown resolutions, feel free to share them below and what you might do to salvage them.

    Good luck!

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    Last Updated on September 20, 2018

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

    You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

    Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

    When you train your brain, you will:

    • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
    • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
    • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

    So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

    1. Work your memory

    Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

    When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

    If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

    The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

    Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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    Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

    What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

    For example, say you just met someone new:

    “Hi, my name is George”

    Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

    Got it? Good.

    2. Do something different repeatedly

    By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

    Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

    It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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    And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

    But how does this apply to your life right now?

    Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

    Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

    Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

    So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

    You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

    That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

    3. Learn something new

    It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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    For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

    Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

    You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

    4. Follow a brain training program

    The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

    5. Work your body

    You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

    Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

    Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

    Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

    6. Spend time with your loved ones

    If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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    If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

    I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

    7. Avoid crossword puzzles

    Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

    Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

    Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

    8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

    Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

    When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

    So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

    The bottom line

    Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

    Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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