By Emmy Crouter
Happy New Year! New year, fresh start. This is the time of year when many people consider changes they want to make in their lives and resolve to make it happen. However, just eight percent of New Year’s “resolvers” actually keep their resolutions throughout the year (Brain Statistics, 2017). Yikes!
Here are five tips for making resolutions you can actually keep:
Stop calling them resolutions. The word “resolution” invites failure – it implies that if you “break” the resolution, it’s all over and there is no going back. In psychology, this is referred to as “all or nothing thinking” in which a person believes that something (oftentimes oneself) must be a certain way and if not, must be nothing at all. One way to combat such self-defeating language is to use the word “intention” instead. One can intend to exercise every day, but if they miss one day it’s not the end of the world. The resolution has not been broken, rather, the intention remains and the person can exercise tomorrow.
Make it small. Lofty goals are all well and good but if your New Year’s Intention is unattainable or simply unrealistic, consider making a smaller step toward something bigger. For example, if you are not a runner but want to run a race, consider signing up for a 5K rather than a full marathon.
Write it down. Write down your intention and schedule it in to a calendar, whether electronically, or on paper. There is something about putting paper to pen that feels concrete and intentional (no pun intended). Tell your friends and family so that they can hold you more accountable to your intention.
Turn to your values. In our culture, there is a tremendous amount of pressure to conform to societal standards of image, career, and family. Rather than basing your New Year’s Intention on such pressures, consider what is important to you and your life. Your intention should feel good, not be a punishment. Consider jotting down your values and then choosing an intention that helps you live out such values. This is a great site that allows you to print out values cards to ponder.
Celebrate your victories. Sometimes in our “never enough” culture, we lose the opportunity to be proud of ourselves and celebrate our accomplishments. When you share your accomplishments with others you give them permission to do the same. Perhaps this is a New Year’s Intention in itself!
Sources: Statistic Brain Research Institute. (2017). “New Year’s Resolution Statistics.”