We all make them, even if only in jest. There are lists of them in newspapers and on the internet, the most popular, the most often not kept. New Year’s Resolutions. Year after year the lists remains basically the same, depending on the number listed and the focus of the authors, and year after year the same resolutions are listed as not kept.
So the question must be, why are we so poor at achieving success with our intentions. First let’s take a look at what people say they want to do. A search showed almost all lists were virtually identical. Top ten items were quitting smoking, quitting drinking or drinking less, loosing weight, exercising more, eating healthier, getting out of debt and/or saving money, spending more time with family and friends and getting organized. After looking at these lists until the repetitiveness became soporific, I began to see some patterns.
Virtually all these resolutions fall into a handful of buckets. The first buckets is for the “I want to quit.” group, those who want to quit something, usually smoking or drinking. The second bucket is the financial bucket, for the people want to get out of debt or save money. The third bucket is the health and wellness bucket. Loose weight, exercise more, get fit, stay fit, get healthy, eat healthier, the same items listed again and again. This should come as no surprise, since sixty eight to sixty nine per cent of Americans are obese or overweight. .The last bucket I call the “time management” bucket. This includes those who want to get organized, spend more time with friends and family, learn something new, volunteer, or travel.
The first way to make sure you keep your resolutions is to not go overboard and make too many. Bucket number three was the focus of my efforts this past year and I succeeded in loosing weight, lowering my stress levels. and eliminating my fibromyalgia. The arthritis in my hip is no longer bothering me and I don’t need the cane I was using any more. Since I’ve been pain free I’m sleeping better, have more energy and better focus. So I have decided to work on bucket number two. My career suffered from my health problems, which means my income has not been what it could have been. That means I have not saved as much as I would like, as well.
After narrowing down the choice, the next way to ensure resolutions are kept is to frame them correctly When your subconscious hears resolutions with negative wording, like quit or stop or give up, it triggers that exact mind set. Stop. Forming your resolutions in more positive language helps prime your subconscious to cooperate. So I will word my resolution as a positive affirmation, something like, “I will increase my prosperity by being mindful of my finances and pursuing conscious and ethical business.” Another way to work toward keeping a resolution is to write it down. I will probably print it out and put it up on the door of the cabinet where I keep my coffee and breakfast shake mix, the office bulletin board and the bedroom mirror.
Another way to keep your resolutions is to break things down into smaller short term goals. So I’ll do all the smaller things that are good financial planning: collect my records and getting ready for tax season (always get the unpleasant over with first), reviewing my spending for the past year and planning my budget. That will get me off to a good start.Then I will work creating those conscious and ethical opportunities.
- Be Realistic
The surest way to fall short of your goal is to make your goal unattainable. For instance, resolving to NEVER eat your favorite food again is setting you up to fail. Instead, strive for a goal that is attainable, such as avoiding it more often than you do now.
- Plan Ahead
Don’t make your resolution on New Year’s Eve. If you wait until the last minute, it will be based on your mindset that particular day. Instead, it should be planned well before December 31 arrives.
- Outline Your Plan
Decide how you will deal with the temptation to skip that exercise class or have that piece of cake. This could include calling on a friend for help, practicing positive thinking and self-talk, or reminding yourself how your “bad” will affect your goal.
- Make a “Pros” and “Cons” List
It may help to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. Develop this list over time, and ask others to contribute to it. Keep your list with you and refer to it when you need help keeping your resolve.
- Talk About It
Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve to change yourself for the better or improve your health. The best-case scenario is to find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and motivate each other.
- Reward Yourself
This doesn’t mean that you can eat an entire box of chocolates if your resolution is to eat a better diet. Instead, celebrate your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy that doesn’t contradict your resolution. If you have been sticking to your promise to eat better, for example, reward yourself with new fitness clothing or by going to a movie with a friend.
- Track Your Progress
Keep track of each small success. Short-term goals are easier to keep, and each small accomplishment will help keep you motivated. Instead of focusing on losing 30 pounds, focus on losing the first five. Keep a food journal to help you stay on track, and reward yourself for each five pounds lost.
- Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Obsessing over the occasional slip won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
- Stick to It
Experts say it takes about 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of your personality. It won’t happen overnight, so be persistent and patient!
- Keep Trying
If you have totally run out of steam when it comes to keeping your resolution by mid-February, don’t despair. Start over again! Recommit yourself for 24 hours. You can do anything for 24 hours. The 24-hour increments will soon build on each other and, before you know it, you will be back on track.
What are your 2012 goals? Share them in the comments section below, and start getting support now!