New Years Resolutions

We lost interest in New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. We all know that somewhere around 97% of all resolutions won’t be kept.  Why do we keep beating ourselves up like that?

Marketwatch.com reports that the top three resolutions for 2009 are:  eliminate debt, lose weight, and develop healthy habits.  Oh, please!!  We’ll vote you off the island if you can’t be more creative than that!

The silver lining to making resolutions, however, is that you give your life, or at least your past year a once over. It’s always a good idea to take stock, but most people focus only on their failures, not their successes.

We did some research, and think that the following two approaches would be more positive, fun, and have a higher success rate:

Choose a broad theme, like health, rather than a specific goal like losing 15 pounds.  This idea comes from Stephen Shapiro who has done extensive research on New Year’s resolutions.  This is a much more positive approach and a more flexible goal. Or you could choose a really nice theme, like friendships.  One of our subscribers says that “taking better care of my friendships” is her goal.

The second approach is to choose something specific and positive, rather than a punishment for a failure.  One of our daughters is planning to try something new every day.  It can be something small like getting out of bed on the other side, trying a new food, not having a second cup of coffee.  This is the flexibility we referred to earlier.  If the resolution is too inflexible, like eliminating all fat from your diet, get real, that’s never going to happen!!

This approach to resolutions frees you to be creative..  We’ve decided to stop saving things for  “special occasions.”  We admit to having clothes we thought were so special they couldn’t be worn for fear of damage. They hung in the closet, tags on, until they went right out of style.  We’re giving ourselves permission to use everything we’ve put away because it was too special!  Or, you might decide to decrease your carbon footprint.  There are many, many ways that can be achieved.  For those of us prone to over commitment, another goal could be to start saying “no” once in a while.

If none of this appeals, resolve to accept something about yourself you’ve tried in vain to change.  Keep burning the toast, shouting on your cell phone, eating chocolate, and swearing too much in front of the kids.  Some things just can’t be changed!

If you would like to set some goals for 2009, check out the website called First30days.com.  It is a site devoted to positive change, and might be very helpful in achieving your goals.   While you’re on the site, read the article on New Year’s Resolutions.