There is an English proverb that says a good beginning makes a good end. Some people will make New Year’s resolutions at the end of this year and others will not. It really doesn’t matter if you opt in or out of a traditional resolution. It does make a difference to look ahead at 2014 and consider what you might be able to do better.

Too often resolutions start with, “I will stop or I am going to quit.” Starting the year off by taking things away or giving things up does not conjure images of positivity or success. Quitting smoking or ending impulse shopping are commendable goals, but stating them also involves a somewhat public admission of bad habits. How many people do you know who look forward to discussing their weakness or shortcomings with casual acquaintances? It’s a better idea to reframe resolutions into goals that can be openly shared and viewed from a positive perspective.

Instead of stating what you are willing to “not do” in 2014, make a statement about what you are willing to do. Positive statements are more likely to foster positive behavior. It also helps that you can state positive goals out loud and feel good about it. Instead of vowing to stop all impulse shopping, consider a promise to be more responsible with your budget. This does not prohibit all shopping, but it does encourage a more respectful and responsible approach to spending your hard earned money.

When it comes to adding more physical activity into your life, most people aim too high or get too specific. Although “I will exercise for 30 minutes every day,” is a positive statement and an admirable goal, it is just not realistic for most. This goal sets a person up to feel like a failure if they only exercised four times in a week. Instead, they should be commended. Only slightly more than half of all American adults exercised three or more days per week in 2012, according to a Gallup poll. And for those people coming off the couch and reentering the realm of the physically active, it is more appropriate to simply state, “I will try to be active for 30 minutes three times each week.” This is a reasonable, realistic and positive New Year’s resolution.

Having a hard time coming up with a New Year’s resolution? Consider increasing water intake, setting a goal for the amount of sleep you should get, starting to meditate, or setting time aside to volunteer. Have a conversation with your children or friends. You may be able to help them set a realistic resolution and they may help you zero in on one for yourself as well.

A big part of starting off the new year on a positive note is to frame your intentions in a positive way. Be kind to yourself and others and enjoy a happy and healthy 2014.

Editor’s Note: This is the final weekly Healthy Lompoc column. Effective Jan. 16, the column will appear every other week.

Ashley Costa is the Community Health Director for the Lompoc Valley Community Healthcare Organization. She can be reached at 736-5985 or

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