With Christmas just wrapping up, and some of us still celebrating with extended family this post be a little pre-mature, but the fact is, time flies and in 6 short days the calendar will not only be marking a new month, but a new year as well. 2013 is just days away and if you’re like much of the world, even if you don’t believe in them, odds are the thought of a New Year’s Resolution has crossed your mind. Studies show that most resolutions are given up by mid-February. I wonder why this is? Are the resolutions we choose too lofty? Do people choose resolutions with their own success in mind or with other people’s impressions of success as the focus? Should a resolution even be a succeed or fail item?
I found this Top Ten List of commonly broken New Year’s resolutions at Time Magazine’s website:
- Lose weight and get fit
- Quit smoking
- Learn something new
- Eat healthier and diet
- Get out of debt and save money
- Spend more time with family
- Travel to new places
- Be less stressed
- Drink less
I would say many of these are very lofty, and ill-defined. When you sit down to make a resolution do you ever think about the “how’s” of it? How is it going to be accomplished? What steps are needed? Will you need external support? Is this resolution for you or someone else? If you are choosing to quit smoking (a challenging and admirable resolution) if you’re not quitting for you, and plans aren’t in place for when you face temptations you may be setting yourself up for failure, and how will you feel after that?
I love looking up definitions in the dictionary, and I really appreciated so many of the definitions I found for “resolution”. Here are a few:
- the act or process of analyzing a complex notion into simpler ones
- the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc
- finding a solution to a problem
- and perhaps the simplest and clearest: A resolution is a plan for something to be done.
Some of the synonyms were wonderful as well: decision, commitment, resolve, intention, promise, aim, purpose, pledge, determination, energy, courage, doggedness, relentlessness, resoluteness, staunchness, fortitude, boldness, perseverance, steadfastness, earnestness, boldness, sincerity, tenacity
So what is the under-lying theme here? I think resolutions can be a good place from which to springboard into change. Take the time to plan what you would like to do. Think about your “whys” and the “hows”. I prefer to think in terms of goals when it comes to making a New Years Resolution. In the post “How do you run 365 kilometers?” I mentioned that this is a goal of mine for the New Year. I also have several other things that I am working towards. I have learned from the past that if I don’t plan, I won’t get very far in reaching my goals. Another post to check out is on SMART goal setting. Perhaps one of the biggest changes we can make is in our own mindsets. So often resolutions are about depriving ourselves of a behaviour that may have made us happy, even if it wasn’t healthy. How would you feel if you were adding something to your life, instead of taking away from it? Would it be easier, more fulfilling? Maybe we also need to look at a resolution as a journey, after all, if it is a plan, it can not be a single action that makes up the resolution, but a series of steps that get us to our goals.
“Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal – a commitment to excellence – that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”