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Stew Cues: Keep New Year’s resolutions on track

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Stew Cues: by Alene Keenan

Welcome to month two of the new year. On the last day of 2018, when spirits were bright, life seemed full of possibilities and New Year’s resolutions meant hope for a new beginning. Goals set to improve some part of an experience in the coming year might have been a promise to change a bad habit, such as smoking or drinking, or to develop a better practice, such as exercising more or saving more money.

The tradition dates to the mythical Roman god Janus, for whom January is named. Janus had two faces: one looking back toward the past, and one looking forward to the future. The last day of December became a typical time to make resolutions for the coming year and forgive enemies for past troubles –or to forgive oneself for past mistakes.

It is estimated that 80 percent of people have failed their resolutions by Feb. 1. Those who love new possibilities and new beginnings wind up feeling disappointed if they fail to keep their decisions. If we really want to make a fresh start, we must figure out ways to stay motivated.

Here are some tips to keep moving in the right direction:

Be authentic and honest about true desires. Really wanting to make changes gets better results than feeling obligated to act as society dictates. Aim for goals that enrich and support the life you desire, not the life that popular culture or the media portrays.

Don’t give up too quickly, for pure strength lies on the other side of the struggle. Step out of your comfort zone and set incremental target goals to keep the momentum going. By embracing the conflict, we may learn to use challenges to our advantage. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from pushing through is powerful stuff.

Manage time wisely and acknowledge small daily progress. Each tiny effort builds on the next, and small regular improvements lead to great results over time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and essential work takes time.

To lead your best life, do your best work. Set yourself up to win by creating a plan of action. Neglecting to do so is setting yourself up for failure. To be effective, implement your plan with energy and excellence. Pat yourself on the back and acknowledge your efforts as you move closer to success.

Don’t go it alone. Find an accountability partner who is a positive force in your life. Choose your influences well and stay away from mental or emotional energy drainers.

Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself, and reward yourself for progress. Resist the temptation to have a very black-and-white attitude, where you either fail or you succeed. There is always a gray area with room for improvement and slow but steady progress.

Keep things in perspective. Even the best intentions can add unnecessary pressure. Reflect on things to work on throughout the year, rather than dwelling on changes that have not been made immediately or goals that have not been accomplished yet.

Remember that resolutions are as much about hope as they are about change. Meaningful change takes time and dedicated effort, but don’t forget to be happy and have fun on the journey. Become successful on your own terms and build a beautiful life for yourself and those you love.

Alene Keenan is former lead instructor of interior courses at Maritime Professional Training in Fort Lauderdale. She shares more than 20 years experience as a stew in her book, “The Yacht Guru’s Bible: The Service Manual for Every Yacht,” available at yachtstewsolutions.com. Comments are welcome below.

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