How to Make Resolutions You’ll Keep
You have four days left until the New Year. Your refrigerator (and maybe the scale) show the ravages of holiday eating and soon it’s back to the workaday schedule of school and jobs. This is the perfect time to find a quiet hour to think about how you’d like to make some positive changes in 2013.
Writing down your New Year’s resolutions may seem like a quaint practice of yesteryear, but it’s still a highly effective means of collecting your thoughts. One study on goal achievement showed that the success rate was more than 50 percent higher for subjects who wrote down their goals versus those who did not.
So grab your favorite pen, dig out your best stationery and sit down. Here are some tips to help.
Keep it brief. One page is all you should need. You may feel like your life needs three pages of improvements, but 50 New Year’s resolutions just aren’t going to be kept. Try to keep your list to about 10 resolutions; some of them can have a bullet point or two. Example:
- Reduce daily calorie intake to 1700
- Choose water over soda
- Pack my own lunch, including yogurt and wheat germ, at least three times a week
- Cut portions of protein and starches in half
Keep it visible. Resolutions are not meant to be advertised, but it helps to review your resolutions on a weekly, or even daily, basis. Find a private spot, whether it’s your desk blotter or the inside of the medicine cabinet, and post the page.
Keep it challenging, but within reach. If you began working out last year, move past the resolution of “continue working out.” Give yourself a new, realistic challenge, such as “use that Groupon for a month of yoga classes, starting February 1.” Then work toward accomplishing both.
Keep it relevant. Writing down things you think you “should” do or things you hear everyone else doing leads to little accomplishment. New Year’s resolutions are highly personal; they should provide you with a thrill of excitement when you see them on paper. If you’ve been wanting to earn your master’s degree for the past ten years, get started. Understand that it is a long and often difficult process; then begin by resolving to take the GRE exam.
Keep it rewarding. Some of your resolutions might be others-focused, such as “help out at my son’s school once a month” or “give out compliments at least once a day.” Strive for a good balance of resolutions that reward you personally and those that make you a better citizen, parent, co-worker or friend. Ultimately, all of them will change your life for the better.