Your Best Self

How to (really, finally) keep those resolutions

Another new year, another list of resolutions. If you’re like most people, the vows are vague and reappear year after year: Get fit, get organized, strengthen relationships.

But as noted by the late French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

We agree, so we tapped into the experiences of local experts for true-life tips on making 2014 our year for realistic, reachable resolutions.

Another new year, another list of resolutions. If you’re like most people, the vows are vague and reappear year after year: Get fit, get organized, strengthen relationships.


FIRST STEP: “Don’t write a check your body can’t cash,” says Patty Geiger, certified Pilates and yoga trainer and owner of StudioVIBE in Cary, “such as ‘Run 3 miles a day.’ Make goals that push you in small, concrete and measurable steps.”

MYTH: No pain, no gain. Hurting that interferes with exercise is not OK.  

THE FOOD LINK: “How you fuel yourself is the number one thing you can fix. For example, when my family grabs the chips I eat celery and hummus, after realizing that the crunch and the socialization are what I’m actually looking for.”

Make a strategy for travel or eating out.

Avoid “martyr eating,” as in eating to make someone else happy.

TO MAINTAIN: Identify your goals.

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.

Change it up; variety keeps you looking forward to your exercise.

Treat each day as a new beginning; a girls’ weekend doesn’t negate your wellness efforts!

RESOLUTION: Family Wellness 

Amanda Dismukes, wellness director at Cary Family YMCA, says parents shape their children’s wellness habits for life. That’s big, but here’s help:

make family wellness a priority. “Get everyone involved,” Dismukes says. “Be the best you can be at one small change, then make a second … you’ll look forward to making more.”

SCHEDULE IT! Block out 30 minutes a few times a week.

KEEP IT CHEAP. “Find a wellness facility that offers something for everyone, so you can all be active even if you’re not doing the same activity at the same time. Or take it outside, which is free!”

FUN TIMES: An obstacle course in your backyard. A fitness scavenger hunt. Cook with the kids. Let them choose an activity outside your comfort zone. They’ll love seeing you trying something new!

TO MAINTAIN: Find things you enjoy doing.
Enlist others for accountability.

Share your wellness goals with a friend, and don’t give up. “Wellness is a journey; keep moving forward!”

RESOLUTION: Get Organized

Deborah Zechini, certified organizer coach and founder of Order in the House of Cary, uses the acronym S.P.A.C.E. to conquer clutter:
Purge. Options: Trash. Donate or give away. Sell.
Assign objects a home
Equalize. Does it make sense and flow?
“Make the system fit your lifestyle,” Zechini says. Do you come in through the front door or the garage? Where do you drop your purse, mail, keys? Kick off your shoes?

Chunk it down. Organizer talk for dividing projects into time segments that won’t overwhelm you.

Body-double. Industry term meaning someone to work with you, for accountability and sociability.

Proper storage. Put similar items together, and store them where you use them. Examples: Pencils and paper clips = skinny drawers. Cords or larger objects = stackable bins with lids.

Schedule specific tasks. An accountability buddy or organizing coach can help you reach your goals.

Remember: “The systems and routines you set up have to be maintained and practiced,” Zechini says. “There is no magic wand!”

RESOLUTION: A Cleaner Home

“You need a method, and the right tools and products,” says Jamie Rohrbauck, president of Apex-based Dust and Mop House Cleaning.

METHOD:  Clean ceiling to floor, left to right, back to front, as in backsplash to front of counter.
“Never backtrack, or waste time zig-zagging around the room,” Rohrbauck says.
Floors are last, but beware: “People use vinegar and water on their hardwoods, but that’s acidic. Instead, use a pH-neutral product, and go with the manufacturer’s recommendations.”

Cleaning caddy with handle, to transport supplies.

Microfiber cloths; spritz product onto the cloth till just damp.

Blue Scotch-Brite sponges — the “scrubby” side is non-abrasive.

All-purpose cleaner for counters, glass, mirrors.

Oil or water-based cleaner for stainless steel; mixing the two will cause clouding. How to tell?

Spray cleaner on your hand. Oil-based feels oily, water-based dissipates.

Secret weapon: Magic Eraser. “Thirty seconds to remove soap scum from glass shower doors!”

Team up: Give kids small projects and their own buckets; have them pick up the floors.

Section the house by the number of times per month you want to clean that area.

“Be realistic,” Rohrbauck says. “Have a schedule and break it up, so you don’t spend all weekend cleaning.”

RESOLUTION: Better Relationships

Author and life coach Deidre Hughey of Apex knows quite a lot about relationships. Looking to improve yours? Here are her tips:

MYTH: A good relationship shouldn’t take effort. “Without effort, the other person may as well be hanging out with a pet rock!”

MYTH: My friend/spouse should already know what I want and need. “Because relationships increase our ESP abilities? No!” Hughey says.  

MYTH: I don’t want to burden my friend with my troubles. “How would you feel if your friend told you that? You’d want to help. So does your friend.”

Open up. Let the people in your life know you better. Communicate what you think and feel.

Be happy. “New relationships have a better chance of flourishing if you’re right with yourself first. It allows you to be more giving and receptive.”

Ask questions. “Been friends for years? The perfect time to ask what they dream, what excites them, what they wish they had done that they didn’t.”

Be honest. End or limit relationships with “life energy zappers.”

Ask yourself what you want out of the relationship. “If it’s damaged because of something you did, be humble and ask for forgiveness, but mean it.”

Think about what the other person in the relationship needs from you. “In the end, your needs will be fulfilled as well.”

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