It takes dedication to improve yourself

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 17, 2015

There is a cliché that making a New Year’s resolution is followed by a year of broken promises and regrets, but it doesn’t have to be.
Most of us want to be better, whether that means in better shape physically, spiritually, mentally or in some other form—the desire for self improvement is constant for most of us. But even if the desire is constant, the improvement process can be hard. Too often, we fall into old habits with food or cigarettes or simple laziness and fail to change.
Social scientists tell us change is hard if we’re alone or if we don’t get out of our regular routine. In today’s paper, we have a story about a smoking cessation group here in Pearl River County. Nicotine is highly addictive so quitting is difficult, but if one goes to meetings and has to report on one’s progress, that pressure (and the reward) can sometimes be enough to break the habit.
This isn’t the only way to stop smoking, obviously, but it illustrates our point: If we want to make a change in our life, we must do something new. It is foolish to want to get into better shape but then continue to spend the same number of hours on the couch eating the same foods.
For that matter, one need not join a gym or make any kind of radical lifestyle change in order to break routines. Volunteering at the animal shelter, at the hospital or with a civic group is a great way to meet new people, find new interests and stay healthy.
Finally, it is important to remember that resolutions are not ironclad. Breaking a resolution isn’t the same as failing at a resolution, and we must remember to forgive our transgressions. So long as effort is made at improvement and so long as the transgression isn’t a lifestyle, we need not feel badly for a slip-up, or even several slip-ups.
If we are dedicated and continue to improve, our goals can be attained.

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