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Self-Care

How To Make New Year's Resolutions Stick


At the beginning of each year so many of us commit to changes and worthy goals to be accomplished in the next 12 months only to be disappointed come next Dec. 31, when we discover we are no closer to achieving those resolutions than we were on Jan. 1. The noble resolutions we made early-on became unstuck. So I looked at this dilemma and created four useful suggestions to increase the probability that your New Year's resolutions will stick this year.

1. Quantify it. Sometimes we are just too vague about what we want. Therefore, a resolution such as, "I want to lose weight this year" will probably fail. It is too vague. How much weight? Be specific. What would your ideal weight be, less what do you weigh now, is what you are going after. It is not enough to resolve, "I want enough money in the bank this year". Quantify. What specific amount would soothe your soul?

2. Set a deadline. Resolutions that are to be achieved "as soon as possible" wind up in the heap of "Someday I'll". Deadlines are commitments. Without a deadline as a self-imposed pressure point, getting started is easily postponed. You see, deadlines put us on the line and define when failure occurs. Deadlines also help us to break the resolution down into little bite-sized pieces. For example, if your goal is to lose 25 pounds by June 30, that translates into approximately 4 pounds per month, one pound per week, or a daily reduction of caloric intake (or an increase in daily caloric burn) of just 500 calories per day. Now that's manageable. Five hundred calories a day is easy to achieve. Twenty-five pounds seems like a leap across the Grand Canyon. Until we quantify our goal, set a deadline, then break it down to its daily requirements, the resolution will forever seem unattainable.

3. Change one or two things at a time. We generally do not like change in the first place. We seek the familiar and avoid the strange. The more change you put yourself through, the higher the probability your campaign will collapse. Focus in on one or two of the more important resolutions you seek to accomplish this year. When you achieve one or the other, start on the next one. Don't overwhelm yourself with too much change all at once.

4. Be realistic. There's just something about the start of a new year that gets us all wound up for changes in our lives, sometimes extraordinary and unrealistic changes. We become much like the child in the candy store whose eyes are bigger than his stomach. Be realistic. You can only accomplish a certain amount within a period of time. Don't saddle yourself with unrealistic resolutions that will only spell failure later on.

If these ideas have been useful, you may want to receive "Control the Free Fall," which discusses why we sometimes feel so out of control. To get your free copy, send your request for "control" to ctsem@msn.com. You also can receive free Timely Time Management Tips on a regular basis to increase your personal productivity and get more out of every day. Sign up now for the free "TIME MANAGEMENT DISCUSSION LIST" by going to: http://www.topica.com/lists/timemanagement and selecting "subscribe."

Contact: Dr. Donald E. Wetmore-Professional Speaker, Productivity Institute, Time Management Seminars, 60 Huntington St., P.O. Box 2126, Shelton, CT 06484; (800) 969-3773, (203) 929-9902, fax (203) 929-8151, e-mail ctsem@msn.com, www.balancetime.com.

Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing


© 2000 Health Resources Publishing