Making Resolutions? – Make Them Work and Make Them Fun.
Tis the time of year people get fixated on resolutions for the new year. We all know how this usually goes. Big plans. High goals. Failure. It need not be so.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that I like the idea of personal resolutions on your birthday, rather than for the new year. This seems to me a more personal way to focus on such aspirations. But the tradition of doing this in January seems a strong pull for many of us; so be it.
I would like to share a modest, two step suggestion to increase substantially the odds of you being pleased with the outcome of your resolutions. Try this:
First, no more than two resolutions. That’s it. Only two. Your odds of failing go up exponentially with every additional resolution. In making those two, only one can be a self-improvement resolution (exercise more, lose weight, read more, etc.). Pick ONE thing that you think would make some positive change in your life and focus only on that one. Quit trying to solve everything you don’t like about yourself in one long list.
The other resolution? Make it something fun. Pick something that gives you pleasure. Do it just because it does give you pleasure, not because it might make you a better person. Two that I have done in the past sure worked for me. I chose more walks in the woods with my dog and I pledged not to go more than 10 days without hot fudge. These are resolutions I can keep indefinitely, I do believe. So far, so good.
Second, put some realistic timelines/goals around that first resolution. You can always build on modest success. It is harder to recover from early failure. A case in point: I belonged to a commercial gym for several years. I avoided it the first three weeks of January. Why? Because it was flooded with “Resolutionists” who had not seen a gym lately, but had resolved to come every day, or even every other day. Most were burned out before the end of the month, all were pretty well gone by Presidents Day.
Those who persisted and thrived were usually the ones who started out more modestly. They set a goal of at least 30 minutes, twice a week, for two months. That was doable and they built a habit. Then they progressed to 3 days a week, 45 minutes each. And so on. Realistic goals, timelines to reevaluate, stepping stones up to progress.
So, go easy on yourself. Pick just two resolutions, be realistic about them, set some benchmarks. Then go get a hot fudge sundae to celebrate your coming victories.
Happy New Year, everyone. See you at the gym 🙄?
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