I fear that many a man’s good resolutions only need the ordinary fire of daily life to make them melt away.
Charles Spurgeon
1834 – 1892

Once again, it’s the time of year when a large percentage of people make New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only a small percent of resolutions are actually kept.

In my opinion, it’s better not to make resolutions if you belong to the ranks of those who simply can’t keep them. It’s too easy to develop a mindset of failure. If we consistently make and then break resolutions, we learn and accept that we don’t keep promises made to ourselves.

If you want to end the cycle of broken resolutions, here are some simple but effective ways to make resolutions you can keep.

Be reasonable. Instead of making a dozen promises, make two or three significant ones. And make sure your resolutions aren’t so big that they’re impossible to keep. Make them obtainable. Don’t resolve to double your income; choose a more realistic goal of a ten percent increase. The same is true for losing weight, getting in better physical condition, saving money, and so on; make sure that your goals are reasonable.

Have good reasons. Don’t make resolutions because someone else thinks you should. Letting your spouse, partner or friend talk you into making a resolution means making one that’s doomed to fail. You need a very strong reason why you want to change your behavior. So for each resolution you make, list the strong reason why you made it.

Be positive. All resolutions should be stated positively. Don’t concentrate on things you’re not going to do; focus on positive action. For instance, instead of saying you’ll eat less junk food, you could say that you’ll eat two more fruits and vegetables each day. When you focus on giving up a habit, you may feel like you’re being deprived. Focus instead on a replacement action that you feel good about doing.

Take action. This is by far the most important step in keeping your resolution: take action. Take action immediately and consistently. Action reinforces the resolution. So take action each and every day toward your new goal.

Monitor and measure. You must monitor and measure your results. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Make sure your goals have specific, measurable outcomes. Then monitor your activities to make sure you’re on track. If you’re not on track, adjust your activities.

Avoid overwhelming yourself. Limit the number of resolutions and then implement them in stages. Trying to change too much in too short a time becomes overwhelming, and that can lead to abandoning all resolutions. Better to implement one in January, another in February and so on. Don’t make your changes too hard to keep.

If you follow these simple steps, you can achieve your resolutions and make real changes in your life.

Resolutions are a wonderful thing if we can keep them, but many resolutions go by the wayside because we have not done anything different with our mindset.
Monica Johnson
1946 –

Copyright © 2016 John Chancellor

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