When in Rome . . . (Or, How to Jump-Start Your Stalled Resolutions)

OK, I’m a procrastinator, and any procrastinator worthy of the title needs to be a good rationalizer—so I have that distinction as well. Now, how do I put these impressive skills to work to come to terms with the fact that it’s March 1st (March 1st!!!) and I’m nowhere near fulfilling the goals that I set for myself for January or February? That’s where the Romans come in. No, not the Romans who make mouth-watering pasta dishes and whip around on Vespas while dressed in the latest fashions. I mean the ancient Romans, the ones who invented cement, built aqueducts—and developed an early calendar.

In fact, in the earliest Roman calendars, the year actually started on March 1st! Winters were rightfully recognized as incredibly blah affairs, so they didn’t even warrant months. As a result, the Romans just had 10 months a year, starting with March. So, let’s do as the Romans did, and start the year fresh today! Forget about January’s and/or February’s missteps or missing steps, and just step up to a new beginning now! If you haven’t done the best job with your resolutions, but still think they’re worthy of your effort, get back in the game! No need to beat yourself up about why you’ve fallen short; you have a chance to get things right now! You still have 10 perfectly good months in 2018 to make the significant changes in your life you’ve been wanting to make. And if you need some valuable tips on sticking with your resolutions for the remainder of the year, here you go:

1. Choose Realistic Goals.

This might seem obvious, but many of us trip over this very first step. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be sure to give yourself enough time to reach your objective. And be sure that your objective is reachable! Giving yourself all the time in the world still won’t help you achieve the impossible. Figure out what positive change you can actually make, and how much time you’ll need to make it.

2. Define Your Goals.

For instance, if weight loss is your goal, saying that you’re going to lose weight is not enough. Take a serious, honest look at yourself and come up with an estimate of how much weight you want to lose. Write down that figure for yourself. If making more money is your goal, how much more? What is a realistic figure to shoot for this year? Write it down. Whatever your goal is, make it concrete and measurable. This way you’ll know what your real goal is and whether you’ve reached it by the end of your effort.

3. Develop Your Strategy.

So far you’ve been homing in on your goals. This is when you get to the nitty-gritty of putting together your plan of execution. What exactly do you need to do to reach your realistic, well-defined goals? Plan out all the steps; make yourself a schedule; and monitor your progress. If something is not working, make the effort to fix it. Don’t just let your goals fizzle away by not keeping track of your progress and adjusting your efforts as needed.

4. Don’t Get Discouraged by Setbacks.

The road to success is almost never a straight line. I wouldn’t have had to summon up the Romans if I could get everything right the first time. So, work diligently to keep to your strategy and schedule, but don’t be surprised if you goof things up occasionally. Humans aren’t designed for perfection, so you’re likely to make some mistakes on the road to your goal. Don’t let this discourage you! If you stumble, figure out what tripped you up, and come up with a tweak to your strategy to avoid such a misstep in the future. Your goal is not to be perfect, but to be better.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.

Some—if not most—worthwhile goals are best achieved with some assistance. Exercising, for example, is a classic resolution activity that is easier to stick with if you’re doing it with someone else—or a group of someone elses. If you know so and so will be expecting you at the gym, or at walk time, or at Pilates class, you’ll be more motivated to show up—even on those occasions when you’re not looking all that forward to doing so.

And if your goal is really something so important to you that you’re willing to make the serious effort needed to achieve it, go ahead and share your goal with the people in your life that matter most. During tough times, they can be there to encourage you to struggle through, and just opening up to them about why your goal is important to you and why you’re determined to achieve it will make you more accountable to the person who’ll have the greatest impact on your success—yourself!

I wish you buona fortuna in your efforts. Until next time, arrivederci!

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