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Why are we talking about New Year’s this time of year?

Hey, you.  Yeah we’re talking to you.  We need to have a quick chat about your behavior.  Well, more than just your behavior; all of ours really.  You see, us humans are uniquely…odd…in our obsession with arbitrary milestones to help kickstart good behaviors. Mondays are always the best time to start those diets because, well, Sunday brunch must have pancakes. The first of the month is a preferred time for many to begin budgeting, which is all the better to fit in those “I managed to make it through to pay day and not get evicted” celebrations out with friends.  And don’t even get us started on the whole correlation between the gym and swimsuit season.

The most iconic of these scenarios tends to pop up as we near December 31st. Yup, we’re talking New Year’s resolutions and our species’ fascination with a random date on the calendar that allows us to start over, correct past wrongs, and otherwise be better versions of ourselves.  For the first few weeks—maybe even a solid month or so—after the last champagne cork has been popped and the last piece of confetti swept up from its hiding place under the living room sofa, there’s a certain excitement and energy we carry around that helps encourage us to meet those goals. We develop charts, make graphs, set our alarms a few minutes earlier and throw out every carb in the fridge in our desire to achieve all or nothing success.

The problem with the above scenario, and the all-or-nothing mentality we tend to adopt to go along with it, is that it’s proven time and again to be a recipe for failure. Trust us, if New Year’s Resolutions really worked, those pay-as-you-go weight loss programs would have been out of business long ago. Professionals agree that there are far better methods for achieving results in all areas of your life than these beloved, but often neglected goals. Keep reading if you are among the many who have already broken your New Year’s resolutions and are in need of a few solid strategies to achieve real and lasting success.

It’s a lever, not a switch.

Unless you happen to score a visit from a magical, blue-taffeta-wearing, fairy godmother, goals aren’t achieved instantaneously. You can’t correct years of less than desirable behavior with a click of your ruby heels or snap of the fingers.  In fact, thinking along these lines is a common cause of frustration when unreasonable expectations lead to an inevitable lack of results.

Instead of expecting things to change overnight, remember that lasting results take time and new habits require repetition to cement.  Additionally, it’s inevitable that you’ll take a step back for every 2 to 3 forward. Don’t beat yourself up over the occasional slide and keep moving forward towards improvement.

Set incremental goals,

Much the same way that change takes time and repetition, it’s also far more helpful to establish step-based goals rather than trying to conquer the world in one fell swoop. The last time we checked, Superman was the only being capable of tackling tall buildings in a single leap.  Unlike the caped crusader, however, us non-fictional mere mortals benefit from setting reasonable, easy-to-tackle, incremental goals where our capabilities can help inspire further forward motion.

If, for example, you’d like to lose 20 to 30 pounds, start by breaking this endgame into smaller, easy-to-swallow bites of change. Attending two gym classes per week and cutting back on deserts or meal sizes are examples of reasonable and manageable steps along your journey. As you reach a milestone, give yourself a pat on the back and continue on to the next major marker. Adopting this method is endorsed by a wide range of professionals as an effective tool to build self-motivation and perpetuate positive feedback as you continue along your personal improvement journey.

Don’t throw the baby out…

We’ve all had the oh-so-joyful experience of being around a toddler in the middle of a full-on temper tantrum. You know the type. There’s plenty of foot-stomping, a hefty dose of defiance, and then typically the final delve into histrionics when the little demonuhhh, we mean delightful angel, realizes they won’t be getting that pre-dinner bowl of ice cream. While we may grow into a better vocabulary and more self-control as we age, as it turns out we don’t do as well learning how to accept defeat.

One of the biggest reasons New Year’s resolutions ultimately fail is the discouragement we feel when we don’t reach our goals by that arbitrarily manufactured date or time. This frustration can often lead to rebounding back to bad behaviors, or beyond, wiping out any small but mighty progress you may have made along the way.  This is why making a resolution can be more harmful to your overall health and well-being than simply going about your normal life, pressure free.

In order to combat this vicious cycle of letting yourself down, try to recognize the minor achievements you’ve had and pat yourself on the back for the steps you have taken to improve your life or self. Writing down your ultimate goals in a journal and then jotting down your progress can help document achievements that you otherwise might forget as you start having a toddler-sized meltdown when that last 5 pounds hasn’t been shed. When all else fails, channel your inner Stuart Smalley and remind yourself you’re good enough, you’re smart enough, and dog gonnit, people like you.

And about that dentist appointment…

We’re going to go out on a limb and say you probably weren’t expecting to find words of affirmation and a mini life coaching session when you stopped by the Millenium Dental blog this morning. Trust us, however, when we say there’s a connection between your resolution failures and visiting your local hometown Plano, Texas dental office.  

Most people have plenty of good intentions about staying up to date on their regular cleanings or finally getting that smile in tip top shape. Dr. Jana Harrison and her crack team of caring dental staff know first hand how hectic life schedules and a general reticence towards having someone poke and prod your chompers for an hour or more can get in the way of keeping your goal of Hollywood-worthy teeth.  

Much in line with our above advice, it’s never too late to start taking small steps towards visible and impactful improvement in your oral health. Start small by scheduling your annual exam today. During your first visit our experienced professionals will help personalize a restoration and maintenance plan that fits your lifestyle, budget, and timetable. Don’t worry, we’ll even send you helpful reminders to encourage you to stay in touch and schedule follow up visits. Think of the Millenium Dental as your tooth fairy meets gym buddy for dental accountability and let us help you meet your dental resolutions this year and beyond.

 

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