Resolve to Make Resolutions You Can Keep

Resolutions again? Already? How can that be possible, when you haven’t even gotten started on your 2013 resolutions yet? Are you planning to just say “ditto last year’s” when the time comes? Don’t do it!

If you tend to make heartfelt resolutions year after year that never get off the ground, can we make the assumption that something’s got to change? If you’re with me still, let me try to help.

A resolution is lofty. It’s a grand thing. You’ve got a clean slate, a fresh window of opportunity to succeed. But do you have the bulleted list that goes under the big, bolded Resolution #1 prepared? In other words, do you have any idea how you will make Resolution #1 happen? If you don’t, your lofty goal might remain just that—aloft. A pie in the sky.

For example: Say your big Resolution #1 is Lose Weight. That’s great! It’s wonderful that you recognize this need in your life. But what’s the plan? I can hear you now, “Oh, you know, eat less. Go on more walks. You know.” No, actually I don’t. That doesn’t sound like a plan to me. A plan that will work sounds something like this:

  • Research exercise options in my neighborhood.
  • Email that trainer Debbie recommended.
  • Try one recipe a week from that new cookbook Mom gave me for Christmas.
  • Ask Mary if she’d like to walk with me two days a week.
  • Get a (free) food journal app to track my diet.

…and so on. In other words, your resolutions—and I mean all of them, not just diet and exercise-related ones—need sub-resolutions. Especially if you are someone who habitually starts a year with stale, cold resolutions from the previous year.

What if you get off to a slow start? Don’t you dare say, well, there’s always next year. Realize that a resolution can bubble up any old day of the year. In fact, one thing I love to do is keep a “## things I want to do before I’m ##” list (e.g., 42 things I want to do before I’m 42). Why not? Every single day is a new opportunity, not just January 1. Resolve to keep your resolutions this go-round, but don’t despair if July comes around and you haven’t done much about Resolution #1. Find a way to make progress in July. Take ownership of the things you want to change in your life. You are the only one who can!

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