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Keeping New Year's Resolutions Requires A Dose of Realism

At the end of each year, most of us compile a list of resolutions that we think will enhance our lives in the new year. But 12 months later, we often discover that, despite our best intentions, we did not fulfill many (or any) of these promises.

Dr. Donald E. Wetmore of the Productivity Institute developed some suggestions that may help us achieve these "worthy" goals as we work our way through 2002.

Wetmore says that a realistic attitude adds to the success quotient of everyone who has vowed to keep their resolutions. He suggests implementing these four approaches:

  • Quantify your resolutions. Sometimes people are too vague about what they want to achieve, so a resolution such as "I want to lose weight this year" will probably fail. Be more specific; decide how much weight you want to lose.
  • Set a deadline. Resolutions that are to be achieved "as soon as possible" usually are not ever realized. Deadlines evoke commitments and help determine when failure occurs; they also help break down a resolution into manageable pieces. Until we quantify our goals, set deadlines and break them down into daily requirements, the resolutions will always seem unattainable.
  • Change one or two things at a time. As a rule, people generally do not like change; they seek the familiar and avoid the strange. The more change you endure, the higher the probability your campaign will collapse. Focus on one or two of the more important resolutions that you want to accomplish this year; when you achieve one or the other, start on the next one.
  • Be realistic. The start of a new year inspires changes, but sometimes they are unrealistic or extraordinary. You can only accomplish a certain amount within any given time period.
  • Don't burden yourself with unrealistic resolutions that will spell failure.

Address: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore, Productivity Institute, 127 Jefferson St., Stratford, CT 06615; (203) 386-8062.

© 2002 Health Resources Publishing