How Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions Work?

In my previous entry, I explained that accomplishing a New Year’s resolution is indeed possible. There are ways and tips to help you through a long and unpredictable year. Below are some of those random tidbits to aid your cause or in any case, something to think or smile about.

1.    Set realistic goals –

First off, don’t get ahead of yourself. Make simple and rational resolutions that you think you can actually pull through an entire year. This seems a fairly common sense type of advice but you really ought to look at it more seriously.

Imagine you had a friend named Bobby. Now Bobby wants to trim down for 2014. Seems like a normal and healthy goal for the year ahead. So how realistic should his target weight be? Should Bobby try to lose 90 pounds in 12 months or is it more reasonable for him to try to lose just 10 pounds every 2 months? For huge life changing resolutions, Bobby can simply take baby steps to attain his goal to lose weight.

2.    Don’t get into situations to be tempted –

From my previous entry, I gave an example of how distractions can deviate you from your goal. These distractions can come from friends, relatives, or even your own husband/wife. Sometimes we get into situations wherein we can’t help but join in. Peer pressure was evident in our youth, but I believe there are still forms of pressure from our environment even as we get older. Let’s say your goal for the year is to cut down on your drinking. That being said, maybe you shouldn’t go to bars or clubs for a little while. You can’t go out on a Friday night with your friends and kid yourself by saying “Oh, I’m just going to drink iced tea tonight.” I say don’t go out at all if you think the temptation is too much. Get away from distractions and anything that will allow you to be tempted. Stay home for the night or go watch a movie.

Do not go testing yourself either. You may have a strong will but don’t punish yourself by getting into situations where you have to question it. That’s silly. It’s like handing your enemy the gun and mock him by saying “Come on, hit me!”

3.    It’s a constant decision –

A New Year’s resolution is a constant decision that you have to make all throughout the year and not just on January 1st. It’s a decision that you have to make again and again if you really want your year to be a different.

A concrete example are people who flock to the gym by the first week of January and not see them again by February. It’s an on going commitment between you and your resolution.

I remember the movie, Keeping the Faith, wherein Edwin Norton who played a priest, was pressed with a dilemma of falling in love with his childhood friend and drop all his priestly vows or to stop with the nonsense and remain a priest. He confronted his senior and asked for advice on what he should do. The elderly priest said that being a priest is a commitment that you have to make again and again, and not just when you decided to follow this career.

Okay, maybe the priest example is a bit too extreme but you get the point.

4.    A vice is a vice –

Another piece of advice is to realize what kind of resolution you’re dealing with. Let’s go back to Bobby for a second and think about his goal to lose weight. It’s healthy, positive, and something he can really pursue. It’s not smoking, drinking, or even drugs. However, I think it’s a different ballgame when you’re dealing with an addiction or even a “sickness that you have.” Convincing yourself to quit smoking is very different to try to lose weight. There are not only the distractions from external factors, but it takes a whole deal of your internal demons.

You can’t just flip the switch and all of a sudden stop inhaling all sorts of things into your lungs (well technically you can stop immediately) but it’s different from losing weight or trying to be more charitable next year or spending more time with your family. There are some people who can do a cold turkey but 8 out of 10 times it’s really difficult. You’re dealing with a vice and more often than not, vices can consume you. Maybe you need a different approach that involves more people around you.

5.    Make room for adjusting your resolution –

Though time is relatively fast, a year can be long. A lot of things can happen that can either hinder or help you towards your goal and you have to give yourself for changes along the way. For instance, a common New Year’s resolution is to travel to a different place. The possibilities are endless for travel lovers that can go from Japan, Cambodia, Australia, Europe, and more. But what if it’s already September and you find yourself short on budget? Maybe it’s time to cut down and try for a local trip. You’ll still travel to a new place and who knows, maybe it’s the adventure you’re looking for.

6.    Don’t put too much pressure on yourself –

New Year’s resolutions deal with the concept of “me” and how the “me” can accomplish set goals. It is through the person’s determination and perseverance that he or she is able to achieve the promises that were made. However what if you don’t get to do what you set out to do at the beginning of the year? What if you didn’t get to save money and you’re still in debt? What if you didn’t spend more time with your family than you should have had?

Resolutions are made to have a better version of you after a year. Even though there is a possibility of you not getting them done, think of it as a journey that you’re pursuing. Maybe Bobby will lose just twenty pounds, or maybe instead of smoking one pack a day you’ll end just consuming half a pack, or maybe you won’t get to travel at all next year but you spent more time with your family. These little victories are still victories. Resolutions, big or small, take time. Maybe it will take a year or two, but keep pursuing them. You will learn, you will grow, and you will change.

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2 thoughts on “How Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions Work?

  1. […] How Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions Work? (pendingquestions.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] How Do You Make New Year’s Resolutions Work? (pendingquestions.wordpress.com) […]

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