Making Resolutions That Stick


New Year's always brings out the raft of resolutions in me. If you are anything like me as midnight strikes you're filled with good intentions and determination. As the final chime of midnight sounds I hear myself saying, "This is going to be the year that I X, Y, and Z!" And I mean it. I am filled with conviction, determination, and optimism. Of course, jump to a few days into the new year and my resolve has been taken over by the demands of real life and that diet I was going to begin can wait until Monday to start... or maybe next Monday.

For me, the only resolutions that have actually stuck have been ones that are true to who I am and what I value, and don't require a huge overhaul. As a girlfriend says, it's the difference between liking the idea of something and actually liking the idea of doing what it takes to achieve it. For example, I might like the idea of playing piano, but I don't like the idea of having to practice an hour a day for two months just so I can play 'Mary Had A Little Lamb' flawlessly. Or I might like the idea of losing weight, but I don't like the idea of having to get up each morning at 6 to hit the gym for an hour (especially if I'm not a morning person.)

The trick I've found is finding a resolution you like the idea of doing. One that all the hard work, practice and time needed to actually do excites you. So if you actually enjoy helping others, then resolving to do more charity work will come true. If you actually enjoy pushing and challenging yourself, then hitting that fitness goal will happen. If you actually value the time with family and friends, then resolving to spend more quality time will happen and finding that time will become a breeze.

A resolution that works also needs measurable goals. Little milestones along the way. So if you want to spend more time with family make it a tradition to spend the first Friday of each month together watching a movie and take turns picking what to watch. If you want to get fitter then hitting realistic milestones along the way will help you reach your final goal. And if you do want to learn piano then having a song in mind to master is the way to stick to it. 

Whether you make lofty resolutions or little ones, just remember to resolve to be kind to yourself. If you stray from the goal that's ok. Just refocus and get back on track. And if you find that resolution really wasn't you after all, then be kind to yourself and let it go. You actually learned something in the process, even if it is that trying to conquer American Ninja Warrior isn't what gets you up in the morning (quite literally.)

And remember, you can always make a resolution to not make any resolutions at all. 

Happy New Year.