Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Year, I Resolve To

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

This Year, I Resolve To

Article excerpt

It's the first week of January. That means the scales are in the center of the bathroom floor now, instead of pushed into the crevice beside the commode.

The eat, drink and be merry holidays are over. People are getting down to the serious business of making New Year's resolutions. According to several national surveys, exercising more, losing weight, getting more sleep and eating better top the list of things Americans vow to do.

"I definitely see an increase in referrals from January to July," said Sheldon Kaplan, a licensed psychologist practicing in Jacksonville. "People have had a break during the holidays, time to rest and reflect, and they're ready to put the last year behind them and hit the ground running."

With a start-fresh, enthusiastic attitude, people dig out sweat suits and sneakers, collect boxes for major closet cleanups and write down goals in cloth-covered notebooks. And then . . . what?

How many people actually keep those resolutions, or even remember what they are come March? The Times-Union staff solicited letters from readers about resolutions. Then we chose six people willing to let us publicly monitor the progress of their private goals. Today, we'll introduce you to the resolution makers, and in the coming weeks and months, we'll update you on their efforts.

HITTING HOME

Here are some general guidelines for sticking to New Year's resolutions from Sheldon Kaplan, a licensed psychologist with Sheldon Kaplan Ph.D. and Associates in Jacksonville.

-- Be specific, and make a plan. Don't just think, "I want to lose weight this year." Research and follow a healthful diet. Create an exercise routine that requires walking a certain number of blocks per day.

If you resolve to be nicer, define what "nicer" means, Kaplan said. For instance, tell yourself that you want to give more compliments to the people at your office, or you want to smile at five strangers in the mall during the weekend.

-- Prepare to deal with setbacks, and don't give up. …

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