Are you Keeping or Breaking your New Year’s Resolutions?

Right around now, during our first week back at work after the holidays, many of us are wondering what the hell we were thinking back then on December 31st as the clock struck midnight and we resolved to change everything. For the better.

Many New Year’s Resolutions start to unravel on day one. Part of the reason for this is that we resolve to make unrealistic changes: I will lose 50 pounds this year, I will never eat wheat again, I will learn three languages, etc. Another reason for the prevalence of ‘unresolve’ is the fact that New Year’s Resolutions find their foundation in perceived flaws. I’m too fat. I have no self control. I am not smart enough.

A more successful approach might arise if we turn these perceptions upside down. “I will  feel amazing!” has a much better ring than does “I’m too fat.” Similarly, “I am making great choices,” feels much better than “I have no self control.” Try it. Really. It works.

Nationally, our top New Year’s Resolutions usually fall into step with: lose weight, quit smoking, reduce stress, etc. Turn these around, just for a kick, and you might get: gain strength, breathe, have more fun. It seems overly simplified, but really it’s all about the approach and the choices. When we choose New Year’s Resolutions that honor who we really are, we find greater resolve and success.

A recent article describes some inspiring New Year’s Resolutions from some celebrities. While we don’t usually take advice from celebrities, these seem like good choices.

  1. Win an award – This could be something as small as winning a charity three-legged race. No matter what you choose, you’ll be inspired to be your best self.
  2. Set one big goal – Having something lofty in front of us keep us looking ahead.
  3. Honor old friendships – This is just a good idea. And studies show that being part of a community inspires longevity.
  4. Write a memoir – This is might seem a little grandiose, but break it down to something achievable like keeping a journal everyday (or even every week), and you’re on to something. Journaling imparts all kinds of health benefits.
  5. Learn a language – Learning something new keeps the brain happy.
  6. Get fit – This is a nice one because it feels like it has some spunk to it. Sure beats “Don’t be such a couch potato.”

If your resolutions do not honor who you really are, drop ’em! Find some that better suit your best self.