It's New Year's Day, the traditional time to start the year afresh by making New Year Resolutions.
People have been making resolutions almost since history began. In ancient Babylon, at the start of each year, people would promise their gods to return borrowed objects and pay their debts.
The Romans began every year by making pledges to placate the god Janus, after whom the month of January is named.
Most New Year resolutions usually involve making personal improvements. The top ten typically include spending more time with friends, losing some weight, starting an exercise régime, drinking less alcohol, reducing stress, quitting smoking, getting out of debt, learning something new and enjoying life more.
Most of us formulate our resolutions with initial zest and optimism. But for all our good intentions, keeping these resolutions can be tough.
Research suggests that just 8% of us actually achieve our New Year goals.
I believe that New Year resolutions are not meant to be a vehicle for an instant makeover. Rather the New Year is a time to reflect on what has been good about the past twelvemonths and determine what positive lifestyle changes you might want to adopt during the course of 2014.
The key to success is to set small, attainable goals to achieve throughout the year, instead of producing an overwhelming list of fuzzy, feel-good goals on New Year's Day. Signing up to goals that are realistic and doable makes it a great deal easier to reach whatever it is you are striving for.
If you can turn your resolutions into habits, by working on them in manageable bits, one step at a time, you will find they quickly becoming part and parcel of how you live your life. For example, if you want to lose weight, making minor adaptations, such as substituting artificial sweeteners for sugar or eating more fruit, does not take too much effort. By making such small, incremental changes and sticking to them, this is how they become habits and part of your daily routine.
It's not the degree of change that matters. It's recognising that you want to make changes to your way of life that is important.
2014 presents a new start and it could be your best year yet. Start as you mean to go on and may all your plans for the New Year go well.