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Resolutions: The Art of the Attainable

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  • 2019 on a hillside, the 1 is a woman stretching

Shaun, Hespeler | January 2, 2019

New Years resolutions are great way to start fresh and work on building a whole new you.  However, most resolutions have a reputation for being abandoned almost as fast as they are created.  In fact, it’s rare to find anyone who can carry a resolution through an entire month, not to mention the whole year.  If you want to be among the elite few who are capable of making lasting resolutions, here are some things to consider when coming up with yours:

1.  Keep it small.  This is crucial.  Huge changes such as cutting out all sugar, or dropping all social media are noble ideas, but they require tremendous lifestyle changes and are often so difficult that they are abandoned after a couple weeks.  Why not try something smaller like just cutting out pop or candy instead of all sugar?  You’ll still be healthier, and you will have a better chance for success.  And people who feel successful, often are successful.  The best part is if you find it too easy, you can always make a more challenging resolution the next year.

2.  Be specific.  Avoid really unclear ideas like just “being nicer”, ”getting healthier”, or doing something more or less often.  Saying you will walk your dog 3 times a week is much more effective than saying you will just walk you dog “more” because you can easily keep track of whether you have met that goal.

3. Include your friends.  On New Year's Eve, my friends and I turn making resolutions into a sort of game, taking turns sharing how we think our resolution will make us (slightly) better people.  The benefit of making it a social process is you can give each other feedback and encouragement.  You may even find you have some resolutions in common, creating an opportunity to provide support to each other throughout the year.

4. Have fun with it.  Not all resolutions need to be serious.  In fact, I have found I am more likely to follow through if I include kind of ridiculous goals like only petting dogs with my left hand, or holding my breath every time I drive over a bridge, or only drinking out of cups that have cartoons on them.  They may not add much to your personal growth, but they will make the journey more fun.

Have a good idea for a New Years Resolution?  Let me know in the comments below.  And may 2019 bring a new you!