quit making new year's resolutions

Friday Flashback–New Year’s Resolutions: keeping them through the year.

I wrote this at the end of December 2018 :

Every year we make New Year’s Resolutions with great zeal, fervour, and enthusiasm. These may be a resolve to give up something like smoking. We might make a resolution to eat more fruit, drink more water or get more exercise.

Whatever our resolutions, they seldom last the whole year through. Usually they don’t survive the month of January.

You might brave the sleet and snow, and go to the gym every evening for about a few days, but then give up if you get the sniffles. Smokers have been known to go without their ciggies for “X” number of days, only to give in.

new year's resolutions new-year-s-resolutions_1207-356 bull's eye

Is there a way out of this?

Can we continue with our resolutions or good habits beyond the second week of january?

It is quite possible to take them through to the end of the year, provided we keep a few things in mind:

1. Keep it Small

Many New Year’s resolutions fall through because of their size. We sometimes make HUGE promises to ourselves: things like never using the elevator, or losing twenty pounds in one month.

Lofty ideals are prone to self sabotage and self destruct. You might be running late for something the very next day after you have decided to take the stairs for the rest of your life.

The choice is quite simple: you can’t afford to be late! Hence New Year’s resolution goes out the window.

But if you downscale the same plan, it immediately becomes more do-able. For instance, you decide to take the elevator on your way to appointments but stairs on your way back.

Another way of doing it could be that you always take the elevator on your way up, but the atairs on your way down.

Or you could decide to never take the elevator for one or two floors. There are so many ways of easing a change into your life so that it does not seem dfficult.

2. Keep it Short

Whether you write it down, type it up, or just keep it in your mind, a long list seems formidable. Many people make a long list of New Year’s resolutions.

A long list is often a failure because you just don’t know where to begin. You can’t very well tackle everything at once. Instead of agonizing over where to begin, it’s much easier to chuck the whole thing.

Keeping your list of New Year’s resolution short and sweet is a good idea. A list of three items is a good number to work with. You can begin on all three at once.

new year's resolutions_stock

A short list is easy to keep up. If three resolutions seem too short, you could add more later but I would advise against more than five.

3. Keep it Realistic

Some people are very unrealistic in their expectations. A smoker who decides to give up smoking cold turkey often finds himself slipping back very soon.

Cutting out one or two cigarettes per day is far more realistic. With time, giving up entirely will not be so difficult if you have cut down gradually.

The same goes for eating preferences and diets. Unless you have superhuman self control, giving up carbs or sugar or dairy all at once can leave you with cravings that can sabotage your resolve. Cutting down gradually is much more realistic.

4. Keep a Check

Planting a tree or getting a pet is not enough. the plant will shrivel, or the goldfish will die if you don’t check on it regularly.

The same is true of New Year’s resolutions. Making resolutions is not enough; making a personal audit is important if you want the good habits and changes to become permanent.

If you use a diary or planner (digital or print) making a note of your resolutions on it is a good idea. Then you won’t need to remind yourself to do a weekly or fortnightly audit of your new habits.

weekly planner

5. Just Keep It Up

new year's resolutions candle flame

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12 thoughts on “Friday Flashback–New Year’s Resolutions: keeping them through the year.

  1. I can follow the X Days rule any month of the calendar year but I almost always fall back into old habits after getting bored. Instead of resolutions, I call them habits-in-the-making now because I want good habits to stick and become ingrained long-term.

    Liked by 1 person

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