Difficult New Year S Resolutions

Any New Year”s resolution that”s abandoned year after year is, by anyone”s measure, a difficult resolution to keep. Psychologists say that any goal or resolution aimed at changing oneself is a difficult one.

Difficult New Year”s Resolutions Explained

According to the experts, many of our resolutions are just too lofty. Most of us simply lack the patience to wait for substantial changes to start reaping benefits. Therefore, we give up and abandon the plan.

How many pounds do you have to lose before your friends start noticing? How much money do you have to save before you feel you have enough for retirement? How much time are you willing to spend to learn to speak Japanese or play the guitar?

The outcomes we value take so long to attain that we”re apparently setting ourselves up for failure.

We also make the mistake of setting goals that are far too complicated. Our diets require fussing about carbs, calories and fat grams. Our workouts involve counting steps, reps and heart rates. Our budgets are broken down into 15 categories and our portfolios have to be diversified.

In addition, the rules change every day: Coffee is bad for you one day and good for you the next. Eggs are too high in cholesterol for breakfast but by dinner are a health food. Tech stocks pay big one year and are risky the next.

If all that isn”t enough, we fail to keep our difficult New Year”s resolutions because we”re driven by shame or guilt. We”re unrealistic or unmotivated, we procrastinate and we state our goals in negative terms.

Fixing New Year”s Resolutions

While there is nothing wrong with seeking self-improvement to become healthy, slow down our lives or save more money, there is something wrong with the way we state our goals and how big and complicated we make them.

Here are some research-based strategies for changing difficult New Year”s resolutions into realistic, attainable goals:

  • Build in some variety. The same old food, the same old workout, the same old routine of eating at home and the same old relaxation tapes will eventually bore you. Substitute a tennis game for your daily bicycle ride. Relax in a hot bath instead of meditating. Take a yoga class instead of lifting weights.
  • Have a contingency plan. If you fail to meet your goal next week, find a motivator that will get you back on track.
  • Keep track of barriers to success. What made you fall off the wagon? Why did you skip your workouts for the past three days? Be honest with yourself.
  • Keep track of your goals. Write down or chart your progress.
  • Pare down your goal to something that can be attained in just a few months. For example, vow to lose 10 pounds in three months. Then, when you attain that goal, set another to lose 10 more pounds.
  • Phrase your goal in positive terms. Instead of giving up desserts, vow to eat fruit for dessert five nights out of seven.
  • Start out with a strong commitment to reaching your goal.

In a nutshell: Keep it simple, make it short and vary the routine. You”ll feel better about reaching one good goal than failing to meet several great ones!

Resources

Silver-Stock, Carrie (2005). Making Your New Year”s Resolutions Stick. Retrieved October 1, 2007, from the World Wit Web site: http://www.imakenews.com/worldwit/

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