In the interest of full disclosure, I admit: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I make resolutions all year long—some of them I keep, some I don’t, and some get changed along the way. These tips will help you keep your resolutions, whether you’re making them at New Year’s or any other time during the year:
• Begin with a grateful and positive attitude. So many resolutions are sparked by negatives—you feel as though you don’t have enough of something (money, friends, time), there’s something wrong with you physically, your relationships aren’t going well, or whatever. Before you make a resolution, put it in the context of gratitude for what’s good in your life.
• Write it down. Like any goal, a resolution you write down is harder to ignore than one that just gets made in your head. Whether or not you want to share your resolutions with others is a personal decision, but write them down for yourself.
• Be specific and define what you want by the end result. It’s not enough to say you want to lose weight or even that you want to lose a certain number of pounds. If you want to lose weight, your end result is that you want to be healthier, look better, wear a certain size, lower blood pressure, be able to accomplish certain physical things and so on.
• Give your resolution the same priority as other essentials in your life. Don’t let your resolution slide because you’re tired or busy. Take it one day at a time until whatever you have resolved to do or change is a habit.
• Make your resolutions realistic. Don’t resolve to never eat chocolate again, or never buy something you don’t need on impulse, or even to never lose your temper. Instead, resolve to eat healthier, manage your money better and be more understanding of others (but expand on those concepts so they are specific to you). Yes, set the bar high—but not so high that you’re doomed to fail.
• Finally, reward yourself when you succeed. Celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments. And don’t beat yourself up over your failures—forgive yourself and try again.