“Sometimes we know the best thing to do, but fail to do it. New year’s resolutions are often like that. We make resolutions because we know it would be better for us to lose weight, or get fit, or spend more time with our children. The problem is that a resolution is generally easier to break than it is to keep.” –Peter Singer
Make New Year’s Resolutions Stick
The New Year is a great time to take inventory, set goals, and take charge of your life. But if you’re like me, and countless others, making resolutions is much easier than keeping them. Rather than focus on the idea of a new beginning, which can lead to disappointment at the first slip, keep in mind that self-improvement is an ongoing endeavor. Setbacks are not failure; they bring wisdom and insight for future success. This is one of the keys to make new year’s resolutions stick.
Before making a split decision as to this year’s resolutions, make a list of goals and changes you’d like to make. Then review your list, and cross off any you do not feel truly devoted to.
One reason people don’t keep resolutions they make is the resolutions are often made to silence the pestering of a loved one. If you decide to quit smoking to get your husband off your back, you’re less likely to succeed. If you decide to quit smoking to feel healthier and be able to enjoy physical activity without being winded, you’re more likely to experience success.
Choose one or perhaps two of the resolutions on your list to which you feel most committed. Then choose one or two you feel confident you can do with ease. These last couple can be used as positive reinforcement for the more challenging first choices.
The next step to make new year’s resolutions stick is to make a clear plan for adhering to your resolutions. Put each resolution in writing, and detail the steps to achieve them. If your resolution requires a routine or schedule such as an exercise routine, a new diet, or steps toward completing your education, then create a goal chart, a detailed plan, and a checklist to track your progress.
Also, post notes in strategic places such as the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or steering wheel as reminders of your resolutions with tips on how to overcome temptation.
Make certain your family understands the importance of your resolutions. Family support and their positive reinforcement can be most helpful. If your resolution is something your family has been nagging you about, ask for their encouragement, but explain that pressure and pestering, particularly during setbacks, could undermine your resolve. Determine how each family member can help you to achieve your goal perhaps by taking on additional household chores or through affirmations of your continued success.
Adjust your environment to enable success. If eating healthier is your goal, don’t fill the cupboards with junk food for other family members. Find healthy snacks they’re willing to substitute. If you’re trying to quit smoking, avoid people, places, and things that remind or tempt you, at least until you have it well under control.
Don’t go it alone. If you have a friend with a similar resolution, make a pact. Work together to create a plan, and then make a point to check in with each other regularly for encouragement, praise, and support. If you resolve to get more exercise, do it together. Having a commitment and someone to accompany you will go a long way in helping you to succeed.
Finally, to make new year’s resolutions stick, reward yourself, not just once you’ve achieved your goal, but periodically for your success so far. Small, periodic rewards can be motivation enough to keep you strong when you’re ready to throw in the towel.
Remember, whatever New Year resolutions you choose, success awaits you if you resolve to never give up trying.
With all this in mind, I’ve chosen just one resolution for myself this year. I want to visit my daughter and grandkids, who live several states away, four times this year. That’s a little easier said than done given the distance of the drive, trying to work around several months of unpredictable winter weather, making arrangements for my dog, and getting my slave-driver boss (myself) to give me time off work. But it’s a goal I’m personally committed to with no pressure from anyone. So I’m confident with this resolution I’ll succeed.
Whatever your resolutions may be, here’s to wishing you a happy, fulfilling, and successful new year!
by Kimberly Blaker
Posted: January 1, 2018
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