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What’s your resolution?

Every New Year’s Eve, we grab a clean slate and engrave a vow committing to growth, success and healthy habits for the year ahead. Still, few people manage to honour their pledges before the next countdown: statistics show that only 8% of Americans accomplish their New Year’s resolutions. As the festive enthusiasm wanes, people lose sight of the goal and lull back into old routines, either out of habit or through lack of self-discipline and sometimes, the list of changes is just too long to handle: we give ourselves too much homework and then lose zeal when life’s dues come knocking on our doors. Yes, we should all make improvements this year – but if you want to truly live up to your New Year’s commitments, focus on one or two objectives and work on them until they become a habit.

Quit smoking – and excuses not to do so

You already know tobacco is your health’s biggest enemy, but are you really aware of all its hazards? Smoking causes ashtray-scented breath, yellowing of teeth and fingers, immune system glitches, easy exertion, premature aging and difficulties breathing, to say nothing of lung cancer. And all that for what? By smoking, you are simply burning money and doing nothing to relieve stress. There are far more enjoyable and cost-efficient ways to de-stress and gather your bearings. Take a glass of water or eat an apple every time you feel the need for nicotine; try nicotine patches; take a walk instead of a smoke; breathe deeply when tension hits the roof. After you survive the first weeks of withdrawal symptoms, the nasty addiction will wear off easily and your body will be right on the healthy track again.

Organise your life – do not be a slave to clutter

Humans are hoarders by nature: perhaps it has something to do with our ancestors and their constant struggle to find shelter and enough food. Do not frown, you own more things than you actually need and that is a fact. Decluttering your home is the first step on your path to freedom and happiness, so open drawers, cabinets and wardrobes and start organising. Donate little-used clothes to charity; throw away old papers; keep only cutlery pieces you use; that torn T-shirt can be used as a dust cloth. Life is too short to be a slave to materialism: your possessions should serve you, not suffocate you.

Lose weight, not faith

Weight loss is the world’s number one resolution, but simply writing it down or talking about it will produce no results. Say goodbye to the cookie jar and start working out, unless you want your skin to loosen and burst out in stretch marks as fat begins to disappear. Other adjustments you should make along the weigh loss path include dietary changes, eating only when you are hungry (wave goodbye to comfort food), sleeping more and finding figure-friendly substitutes for junk food. With consistency, you should see the first results within weeks.

Save for a rainy day today

Today is the best day to start improving your finances. Limit your shopping sprees to the items you truly need, set aside as much money as you can afford each month – or better still, open a savings account. This way, you will have a more generous holiday budget or a fund to dip into should an emergency happen. Do not cheat as you will only be cheating yourself out of a chance at a better life.

Following through lengthy lists is difficult even when you are grocery shopping, to say nothing of annual self-improvement endeavors. Pick your target and keep your aim true. Allthough the winter holidays have just ended, time has a funny way of slipping through our fingers. Welcome the next New Year’s Eve prepared, after all, you only live once so make it count, even if you are making baby steps to a new and improved you.

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