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
ideas have been useful, you may want to receive "Control the Free
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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
Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing