If you are like most people, by now you have made at least one New Year’s resolution. And if you are like many people, by March you will suffer a relapse or even give up on your resolve to fulfill that resolution! But why is it that most of us are long on promise but short on performance? Well, I think there are several factors, but I have some ideas that might help resolve resolution relapse:
- Make reasonably realistic resolutions: Be reasonably realistic when making your resolutions. Don’t resolve to tackle the giants if you haven’t dealt with the ants! Master the little things before you tackle the big things! It was David’s victories over the lion and the bear that gave him the confidence to face Goliath!
- Break down your resolutions into bite-sizes! Just as you can’t eat a whole meal in just one bite, it is unreasonable to expect to reach the top in a single step. But, you can do it one bite and one step at a time! Inch by inch; it’s a cinch! Don’t worry about getting through the year, just deal with the next minute! It has been said that we can only live one day at a time. But, the real truth of the matter is this: We can only live one moment at a time! If you do something each moment of each hour of each day of each month that will move you toward your goal; you will reach your goal for the year!
- Make your resolutions measurable. Don’t just resolve to be “a better person.” How much “better” do you want to be? What does “better” look like? You must be specific to be terrific! Set definitive measurable goals. If you walked into the bank and just asked the teller for “some money” chances are fairly good that you would get in trouble! But if you asked for a specific amount, they might at least check to see if you had an account!
- Be willing to pay the price! Don’t succumb to the common human weakness of wanting something for nothing! Understand there is a price to be paid if you are going to reach your goal! It’s going to cost; time, money, commitment, convenience, discomfort, sweat, tears, etc. Whatever it is; it’s going to cost! You must accept that reality and be willing to pay the cost.
- Write it down! Put it in writing! Writing it down causes your resolution to take on a life of its own. A goal is just a wish until you write it down! The reason most people don’t write it down is because writing it down makes it more official. If they fail, they want to be able to deny the existence of the goal because denial eases the pain of failure. However, it is the act and the fact of a written goal that makes us more prone to follow through. A written goal is a contract with ourselves that we are more likely to honor.
- Publish it! No! You don’t have to formally publish it; just tell it publicly! When you write it down; it is a contract with yourself. When you publish it; it is a declaration to others and that will make you even more accountable and more likely to follow through. Not only will it make you more accountable, but publishing it will also help you to enlist the help and encouragement from others who can help you reach your goal.
- Make resolutions that will stretch you. Some people don’t keep resolutions because they are too big and unrealistic. But on the other hand, some people don’t keep resolutions because they are too small! Resolutions that are too small don’t excite or stimulate! Somebody said that a good speech is like a tasteful lady’s skirt: Short enough to be interesting but long enough to cover the subject! In the same sense, your resolution should be big enough to stretch you while at the same time not so big that it breaks you! The good thing about a resolution that stretches you is that even if you fail, because of your efforts, you will at least be bigger than you were before you started! As the old saying goes: “Reach for the moon, you may land upon a star!” (Apparently the one who coined this saying didn’t realize the moon is actually closer than any star, but it’s the thought that counts!)
This list is by no means exhaustive; it is just a little something to provide some general guidance. But whatever your resolution might be, if it’s noble, if it’s just, if it’s right, if it’s for the common good, if it’s accomplishment will make you a better person and this world a better place, then resolve to do it! And even if you have a relapse, start over again because failure is never final unless you quit!
My wish for you is that you resolve your resolution relapse so that this year will be your best year yet!
Happy New Year and Happy New You!