Ten Life Saving New Year's Resolutions

It’s just about that time of the year. Time for well-intentioned resolutions that take flight in January, but too often crash and burn by March. Think about all of the new sweats and work-out clothes and gym memberships. January is filled with resolve, which would lead to the betterment of mankind and the lessening of our waist lines. Yet, by spring, there are plenty of places to park at our gyms. I hear ya. In some areas of my life, I have lived this way.

The past year's accomplishments

Last year, I pledged to “be better”, but better at what? I wanted to be a kinder person. I wanted to be better at reading books and exercising. I wanted to eat better and try new things. I wanted a “better” me. I was able to accomplish some of those things. I walked at least 10,000 steps every day, except one. I kept my daily caloric intake under 2000 nearly every day. I was kind a lot (ask my family, ugh). The one thing I noticed is that I was much more successful when I wrote down my goals in very specific and measurable ways.

The new year and my skin

This all leads me to skin care and my new year’s resolutions. Here are my specific, measurable goals.

1. Put on sufficient sunscreen (spf 30+) every day and reapply on days that I swim or sweat a lot.
2. Limit my sun exposure to less than one hour every day.
3. Wear long sleeves every day.
4. Wear sun glasses on sunny days.
5. Remind my family twice a year about the importance of sun protection, self-checks, and doctor’s visits.
6. See my dermatologist every six months.
7. Check my skin for moles once a week.
8. Find a new and creative way to advocate for safe sun practices twice a year.
9. Wear a hat every day.
10. Rethink this list every month.

Be flexible

OK, those are my initial thoughts and I am probably missing a few things. But in the moment, this is my first pass. Here is the thing. My resolutions have to be fluid and changing because what I learn about sun care and best practices evolves over time as I discover new research and my life changes. What was an issue ten years ago may not be relevant today. It’s about wise choices and decisions to protect my life and the lives of those I love.

Write them down

So, I challenge you to make the same type of list. Studies show that goals that are written down are much more likely to be realized. Make them SMART goals:

  • Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
  • Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
  • Achievable (agreed, attainable).
  • Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
  • Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).

Summing it up

General, vague aspirations that are unreasonable and have no due date are really not the best ways of determining your new year’s resolutions. Habits (both good and bad) take a month of two to set in, so be patient and diligent and soon you will be protecting your skin year round and you will barely need to give it a thought.

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