By now, you may have made some New Year’s resolutions. It seems that resolutions change through the years.
- 2007: I will get my weight down below 160 pounds and get into my new red dress.
- 2008: I will count my calories until I get below 170 pounds and fit into my sweater.
- 2009: OK… I will follow my new diet until I get below 210 pounds and maybe I’ll buy some new slippers.
- 2010: I will talk to a counselor about developing a realistic attitude about my weight and appearance.
- 2011: At my doctor’s suggestion, I will work out five days a week at my gym.
- 2012: I will drive past the gym once a week … and if I have my gym bag in the car, I’ll go in. And if I don’t, I will take that as a sign that I should go to the Dairy Queen next door.
The most common New Year’s Resolutions are, according to studies, “losing weight, exercising more, and quitting smoking,” but other popular resolutions include “managing debt, saving money, getting a better job or education, reducing stress, taking a trip, or volunteering.” (1)
Although some studies say making a resolution increases the likelihood of achieving a goal, making a resolution ~ in and of itself ~ isn’t really enough.
I’ve found that New Year’s resolutions don’t work unless people work at making resolutions stick. Otherwise, by February 1st or sooner, the resolutions are a dim memory. The same old frustrations or longings linger.
Many resolutions are made after periods of indulgence. For example, we give ourselves “permission” to go crazy over the holidays, but then we feel guilty, or we don’t like it that our clothes no longer fit.
Resolutions are our way of convincing ourselves we will eventually take control. At first, we feel pretty confident that we’ll win out… but then those feelings of discomfort and stress return. If we haven’t developed a new habit or acquired the character quality of self-discipline, we aren’t likely to keep those resolutions. Or, when our “results” take longer than we expect, or we find that our new choices haven’t made us any happier, we tend to give up.
But here are five ways to encourage success with “resolutions.” Continue reading