Resolving to Stick With Your Resolutions

by DavalosMcCormack on January 5, 2009

Every year, like millions of people around the world, I make a New Year’s Resolution. Like many people mine is the same resolution year after year. It’s a very simple one. I simply resolve not to make any resolutions.

Now the smart asses among you will say that just by making that resolution I have already failed in my bid not to make resolutions. That’s ok, I can live with that failure.

However, many other people doom themselves to failure by either making too many  resolutions Рsuch as losing weight and starting an exercise program and learning how to speak Swahili Рor choosing one that is entirely unrealistic Рsuch as losing 100 lbs by Easter.

So, regardless of what you have already decided or are thinking about deciding, here are a few tips to help you keep them.

1) Keep it simple. The more resolutions you have the less likely you are to keep them. The best thing is to choose one thing you really want to do. Most of us can only handle one major, or even minor, change at a time so by limiting your list to one item you are increasing your chances of success.
2) Develop a strategy. Just wanting to do something is not enough, you need to have a plan to help you succeed.

Most resolutions consist of starting or stopping something.

  • If it’s starting something then have a timetable for when you want to start, outline the process you are going to follow. Again, keep it simple and realistic. If you find it’s not working then think about where it’s going wrong and come up with an alternative plan that addresses those problems.
  • If it’s stopping something – say smoking – then create a plan for how you are going to go about it. Just stopping cold turkey rarely works for anything; some of us need to slowly cut down and taper off, particularly if what we’re giving up has addictive properties such as tobacco or caffeine. Get support from family and friends. If you feel it will help seek professional advice from, say a physician or someone who is knowledgeable in that field (for example the American Cancer Society if you are trying to quit smoking)

3) Cut yourself some slack. Making changes is hard work. You may slip up from time to time. In fact at the beginning you may slip up a lot. But remember, these habits didn’t develop overnight and they won’t go away overnight. So, be patient with yourself.

Acknowledge when you aren’t doing a good job but don’t beat yourself up over it, instead just resolve to pick up where you left off and carry on working towards your goal.

These changes are ones that, with luck and persistence, you will keep for the rest of your life. Keep reminding yourself of that and remember that even if you don’t make it all the way this year you’ll have made some progress. Next year, you’ll resolve to finish off the job.

As for me, I’ve already succeeded in keeping my resolution. Now I can kick back till 2010. Sweet!!!

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