How to Keep Your New Years Resolutions!

Dec 30, 2011

The only thing more inevitable than a New Years resolution is the ultimate breaking of that resolution! Some studies show that more than 80% of all New Years resolutions are broken.

Why do we make New Years resolutions? Nearly 4000 years ago, the Babylonians celebrated the New Year for 11 days in the early Spring. It was their belief that what a person did during that celebration would have an effect for the entire year. Approximately 2000 years later, Julius Caesar developed the Julian calendar, (still in use today) that more accurately reflected the seasons. The first month of the year was named after the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and the guardian of doors and entrances. At that time, the New Years celebration was moved to January 1. Janus was always depicted with two faces, one to look back on the past, the other to look forward to the future.

The New Year, no matter when people have celebrated it, has always been a time for reflecting on the past, and more importantly, planning for the future. New Years is a time to plan for the coming year, and identify changes that we want or need to make in our lives. Easier said than done! Here are a few tips to effectively make, and keep, New Years resolutions:

  1. Pick the right resolutions – or, avoid picking the wrong resolutions.
  2. Be specific, and be realistic! Don’t overreach – it’s far better to pick one or two areas to change. If you’re successful, you can always add more.
  3. Find the “low hanging fruit” – If you can pick something easy to get you started, you will build momentum for the more difficult resolutions
  4. Set goals, create a plan, and monitor your progress – an abstract goal, like “get in shape”, without a plan to achieve it, is destined to fail quickly.
  5. Figure out what has kept you from success in the past – removing obstacles, or changing your habits to help resist temptations will promote your ability to reach your goal.
  6. Look for fun ways to succeed – if you hate running, then running is not the best way for you to exercise. Find something you love to do that also helps you work on your resolutions
  7. Seek positive reinforcement – make your resolutions public so that others can encourage you along the way.
  8. Find someone to hold you accountable – or better yet, find someone with the same resolution to travel the road with you.
  9. Start with your health: nutrition, exercise, sleep or all of the above. If you work on your health first, you’ll feel better, and thus be able to attack other areas as well.
  10. Just do it – no excuses. If your resolution is activity-based, write it into your schedule just like an important meeting. If it is relational, schedule regular times in your schedule for reflection on your progress.