We look to the week between Christmas and New Years and rush to plan the parties and clean the debris of holiday wrapping and decorations. Some are likely sitting now relaxing and catching as much rest before returning to work (or going to the office to finish whatever business remains before the year turns).
In the midst of it all, most will at best set aside a few minutes to hurriedly make a list of To Dos or To Don’ts for the coming year. Many will hardly bother, but those who do often do it in perfunctory fashion. It is a list we do to help ourselves use a milestone of the new year to focus our attentions – or intentions.
Let this year be different! Take this year to make your resolutions with real resolve. Then, plan to keep them and to avoid letting this be another year of broken promises you make to yourself. Do not hope to keep them. Do not wish to keep them. Resolve to keep them!
Here are some tips that will help you on your path. Are these just ideas; notions to be tried? No – these are from tried and true steps that many have used. I myself have found help in them and am confident they will increase your chances.
Guarantee? No. The final ingredient is your own commitment and there are no magic potions or spells. They still require that you stand firm and… if you slip…give yourself permission to return to the plan.
Record your resolution on paper. You can think all you want, but anecdotal and scientific testimony supports the practice of a written list. Put to paper, a commitment takes on a life of its own.
Avoid the resolutions where you quit something. These resolutions will leave a void without a strategy of success. “I will quit eating icecream” will leave you with a hunger that does not go to another commitment. This one risks becoming the implied “I will eat cake instead of icecream”.
An alternative: “I will reduce the junk food across the board and replace with fruit snacks.” Or, better yet, “When craving junk food, I will do 20 sit-ups instead.”
Add a reason to your resolution. It is good and well to resolve to end junk food but you must be clear as to its purpose. “I will replace ice cream with regular exercise so I can have more energy and reach my goal weight.” The reason provides clarity and helps to once again keep you from temptation to cheat. Days, weeks or even months as you start to negotiate with yourself about the list, the reason attached will remind you that any change in plan must keep the original goal in the forefront.
Return to them immediately. Do not let a slip reset the clock. Some are inclined (okay – I confess myself guilty of this) to use the first or second slip as an excuse “well maybe next year”. This one is rooted in my own pet peeve for New Year’s Resolutions – that they can only be started with the new year. We can and should set resolutions at any time we realize we need to. And when we slip on one, do not take a break from it and go the rest of the year until the next start.
If you slip, forgive yourself and get back on the program.
Renew each day. In hand with the idea that resolutions need not be made only at the start of the year; resolutions need to be restarted with each new day. Take the written resolutions and read them each morning as early as you can.
Plan ahead. This last one should be first. Each new resolution should be very deliberately planned. You should align these with your life goals (a subject for another article). For now, just remember that resolutions, given their new found wait and sobriety of intent, need to be carefully considered. They should be embraced but not taken lightly.
And rejoice – that it does not take a year to keep a resolution. A resolution that is active and fully committed to is usually either successful or failed early in the year. After a month or two, the patterns of behavior are set that will get easier with time.
To learn more about goals and planning for the future and how we can help you increase your own chance of setting and keeping resolutions, we would be happy to provide more information. Contact us here, at RPS for more information.