Make and Achieve Your New Year’s Resolution

Are you making a resolution for 2018?

 Warning: More than half of all resolutions fail, but this year, they don’t have to be yours. Here’s how to identify the right resolution to improve your life, create a plan on how to reach it, and become part of the small group of people that successfully achieve their goal.

Pick the Right Resolution

You’ll give yourself your best shot at success if you set a goal that’s doable — and meaningful too.

According to the time management firm FranklinCoveyone third of resolutioners don’t make it past the end of January.

A lot of these resolutions fail because they’re not the right resolutions. And a resolution may be wrong for one of three main reasons:

  • It’s a resolution created based on what someone else (or society) is telling you to change.
  • It’s too vague.
  • You don’t have a realistic plan for achieving your resolution.

Your goals should be smart — and SMART. That’s an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions, too.

  • Specific. Your resolution should be absolutely clear. “Making a concrete goal is really important rather than just vaguely saying ‘I want to lose weight.’ You want to have a goal: How much weight do you want to lose and at what time interval?” said Katherine L. Milkman, an associate professor of operations information and decisions at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. “Five pounds in the next two months — that’s going to be more effective.”
  • Measurable. This may seem obvious if your goal is a fitness or weight loss related one, but it’s also important if you’re trying to cut back on something, too. If, for example, you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails over time so you can track your progress in how those nails grow back out, said Jeffrey Gardere, a psychologist and professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine. Logging progress into a journal or making notes on your phone or in an app designed to help you track behaviors can reinforce the progress, no matter what your resolution may be.
  • Achievable. This doesn’t mean that you can’t have big stretch goals. But trying to take too big a step too fast can leave you frustrated, or affect other areas of your life to the point that your resolution takes over your life — and both you and your friends and family flail. So, for example, resolving to save enough money to retire in five years when you’re 30 years old is probably not realistic, but saving an extra $100 a month may be. (And if that’s easy, you can slide that number up to an extra $200, $300 or $400 a month).
  • Relevant. Is this a goal that really matters to you, and are you making it for the right reasons? “If you do it out of the sense of self-hate or remorse or a strong passion in that moment, it doesn’t usually last long,” said Dr. Michael Bennett, a psychiatrist and co-author of two self-help books. “But if you build up a process where you’re thinking harder about what’s good for you, you’re changing the structure of your life, you’re bringing people into your life who will reinforce that resolution, then I think you have a fighting chance.”
  • Time-bound. Like “achievable,” the timeline toward reaching your goal should be realistic, too. That means giving yourself enough time to do it with lots of smaller intermediate goals set up along the way. “Focus on these small wins so you can make gradual progress,” Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit” and a former New York Times writer, said. “If you’re building a habit, you’re planning for the next decade, not the next couple of months.”

Tips For Winter Skin Care

The change of seasons can be very stressful on your skin, especially when going from warmer summer months to cold, windy drier winters. This transition most commonly makes your skin look dull and older than its years, but it can also spur flare-ups of skin conditions such as acne and eczema. One of the biggest mistakes people make with the change of seasons is they neglect adjust their skin care routine, if they are even sticking to one in the first place. The good news is that there are simple changes you can make to prevent the stress of cold weather from affecting your skin.

Decreased temperatures mean a drop in humidity levels, taking moisture not only out of the air, but also out of your skin. While staples like a healthy diet and drinking plenty of water are crucial for healthy skin, making a few skincare changes and adopting a handful of new habits can help manage the discomfort of Dry Skin Season and keep your skin feeling silky smooth year round. Here’s my quick hit of easy skin care tips for cold weather:

1. EAT THE HARVEST.

The best high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables in their peak season right now. My favorites are cranberries, blueberries, pumpkin, pomegranate and squash. These foods will help feed your skin from the inside out and keep it looking its youngest most beautiful best.

If stubborn dry skin is causing extreme discomfort, seek out professional advice. A dermatologist can analyze your skin type and create a customized skin care routine. In certain cases, extremely dry skin can be an indicator of a larger medical issue, such as diabetes or an underactive thyroid. Work with a health care professional to determine a more specified treatment plan.

2. DON’T CRANK UP THE HEAT.

Turning up the heat indoors seems like a natural response to chilly winter weather, but raising the thermostat indoors dries the air, and skin out even more. The result is dry, flaky skin that is itchy and uncomfortable.

3. START USING YOUR HUMIDIFIER.

To remedy a dry home, bring in a humidifier and set humidity level between 45% and 55% to infuse the air with enough moisture for you skin to reap the benefits.

4. TAKE QUICK WARM (NOT HOT!) SHOWERS.

A long hot shower may feel heavenly on cold mornings, but it strips out the water and natural oils in your skin, thus drying it out. Limit showers to 15-minutes or less, using warm water, rather than hot hot water.

5. DON’T USE HARSH SOAP.

Deodorant and antibacterial soaps are especially harsh on your skin, compromising your skin’s natural moisture barrier. Instead, opt for mild, fragrance-free cleansers.

6. USE A MULTITASKING MOISTURIZER.

After showering, blot excess water off your body, instead of roughly rubbing your skin with a towel. Next, apply a body moisturizer while your skin is still damp. Use a formula that gently sloughs off dry, dead skin cells, while also locking in moisture. Look for a cream over a lotion in the winter and also check for ceramides on the ingredient list, which are naturally found in the skin’s outer layer, help to retain moisture and can help to replenish the skin’s moisture barrier.

7. GIVE YOUR HANDS EXTRA TLC.

Moisturize hands every time after washing. Trade in traditional hand sanitizer for a combination sanitizer that contains moisturizer or lotion.

8. SOFTEN YOUR SOLES.

Your regular body lotion may not be enough for your feet. Look for a thicker cream to penetrate rough, dry skin on feet.

9. EASE UP ON FACIAL EXFOLIATING.

Reduce the frequency of facial peels and masks to avoid irritating your skin.

10. ALWAYS GO FRAGRANCE-FREE DYE-FREE OPTIONS.

Avoid irritants often found in everyday products by selecting fragrance-free or dye-free options. Un-scented means there’s a masking scent and this is just another form of fragrance designed not to have a smell.

11. WEAR SOFT CLOTHING.

Avoid putting on abrasive or irritating fabrics like wool or polyester directly against your skin, especially the neck. Stick to soft fabrics, such as cotton, especially if they are in direct contact with your skin.