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Melissa Schmalenberger, Areavoices blogger, Published November 30 2012

Areavoices: 'Tis the season to get a jumpstart on your New Year's resolution

We promise ourselves year after year that we will enjoy the next holiday season…or that we won’t spend as much….or that we will make time for exercise….or we won’t eat as much….or we will get more things done. But we quickly get caught up in the rush of the season and soon it is the end of the month before we know it. Then we feel guilty and start January fresh with our New Year’s Resolutions in hand and we stick with them for a few days or maybe even a few weeks. But what would happen if we started enacting some of those resolutions now? I heard this idea from a friend yesterday and I thought it was genius! Start now on those New Year’s Resolutions. Plan to spend less money now. Plan to eat less now. Plan to exercise now. Plan to start getting organized now. I was motivated by a friend’s Facebook post today where her goal of exercising every single day in November was accomplished. I want to do that for the month of December. I on average exercise 4-5 days a week. But I know I need to add in more cardio, so my goal of December is to exercise everyday by adding in the cardio piece. {Please note that two of my exercise days are yoga that is so relaxing that I see those as bonus days}. They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. I don’t want to wait until January to begin on some of my goals. Maybe December will be less stress filled if I start working on them now!

What can you plan on doing now to enjoy the month of December? What new habits can you begin so that come January you are well past the 21 days to create a habit? Here are some ideas to get you started:

If you are someone who tends to overspend, figure out how much you are going to spend on gifts and get cash in that amount. As you shop, stick with using only cash.

If you are someone who is low on funds, can you bake or make some holiday gifts? A mix of hot cocoa or homemade chutney with a loaf of bread is a lovely gift. I always give the advice of giving the gifts of experiences or consumables as they don’t collect dust!

If you are someone who is stressed, give the gift of a relaxed experience such as a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure. Book the same for you and relax together.

If your goal is to exercise more, find an accountability partner or ask for the gift of having sessions with a personal trainer to be given to you this year.

If you don’t want to put on the pounds, start looking for healthy appetizer ideas. That way when you are invited to a holiday party and you are asked to bring something you have your ideas ready to go.

If you are someone who wants to spend more time with friends, get them scheduled into your calendar now. Create a standing date every month and get it scheduled now for 2013.

If you are someone who needs to simply slow down, start your day a few minutes early and pray or mediate or write in a journal. Start each day calm and relaxed and know that you can continue going forward with that same feeling.

If your goal is to be more organized, dedicate a certain amount of time every day of the month that you will focus on organizing. Even if you did 10 minutes a day, that would add up to over 5 hours of organizing by month end.

Who is with me on starting those resolutions a month early? Mine is to exercise every day the month of December and to slow down. What is your goal? Make a plan and take action today!