Ever the cynic, I rarely had New Year’s Resolutions growing up. I was the ‘realist’ who could see the future and how quickly I would abandon my project and so I decided not to start it so I couldn’t fail at it. Sounds like a happy kid, right? What I did like was new beginnings. So various times throughout the year I would feel inspired to start new things. I didn’t want to feel stuck to January. Only in the last few years have I attempted New Year’s Resolutions.
I was reflecting on this time last year, which I spent some time planning my New Year’s Resolution. I actually managed to successfully do 10/12 months of my New Years Resolution which is an overwhelming success in my books! I took some time to think about why it ended up being the only major success in a Resolution I’ve ever had. It ended up lining up pretty well with these suggestions that I found in A New York TImes article called Be It Resolved by John Tierney, so I thought I’d share his tips instead since he’s way more credible than I am.
- Set a single clear goal. Instead of resolving to “lose weight” or “eat healthier,” set a specific goal — say, lose a pound a week. And limit yourself to one big resolution at a time.
- Pre-commit. Further bind yourself by e-mailing your goal to friends or posting it on Facebook.
- Outsource. You can outsource self-control by sharing your progress with friends through Twitter posts about your weight or your workouts, or by making a formal contract at Web sites like stickK.com, [I’m looking at trying out the Lift app]
- Keep track. Self-monitoring is vital to any kind of resolution, and new tools will do the grunt work for you.
- Don’t Overreact to a Lapse. One reason dieters fail is a phenomenon formally known as “counterregulatory eating” — and informally as the “what the hell effect.” Once they lapse, they figure the day’s diet is blown anyway, so they go on to finish the whole carton of ice cream, thereby doing far more damage than the original lapse.
- Tomorrow is another day. One of the cheeriest new findings from diet research comes from an experiment in which people had to resist a bowl of M&M’s. The ones who told themselves they could have the candy later had a much easier time than the ones who swore off M&M’s permanently.
- Reward often. If you use willpower only to deny yourself pleasures, it becomes a grim, thankless form of defense. But when you use it to gain something, you can wring pleasure out of the dreariest tasks.
Make sure you read the rest of the article. They give more than just one sentence explanation, which is helpful.
What about you? Have you ever had success in a New Year’s Resolution? Do you bother? Why? Why not? You can leave a comment by clicking here.