New Year’s Resolution

2010 has arrived and the buzzword “resolution” is dancing through the ether. “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” is a question I’ve heard at least ten times in the last twenty-four hours. And it’s a great question. What’s more interesting though is the answer and the commitment behind it. Usually the commitment underneath a New Year’s Resolution has the shelf-life of a week. How many times have you heard someone declare, “I’m going to eat better!” only to see them devouring a decadent brownie sundae a week later? Or how about someone stating, “I’m going to get in better shape!” and after a week his/her morning run turns in to sleeping for an extra thirty minutes…

Why do we renig on our resolutions? I think it’s because we make declarations based on unrealistic expectations. The phrase “I’m going to eat better!” conjures up images of delicious vegetables, bowls of cut fruit, whole grains and ______________ (insert your favorite lean-protein option here). But where will all this food come from? Is a magical chef going to teleport in to your home and prepare a healthy meal for you every night? And even if you are preparing to cook this wonderful food, what’s your back-up plan when you come home late from work and just want something quick and comforting? The fact of the matter is “I’m going to eat better!” is too vague to withstand the onslaught of daily living. It gives you no way to measure your results, nor does it give you a defining goal to work towards. But how do you craft a simple resolution with measurable results that will last for the entire year?

The answer: I don’t think you do! Instead of making one resolution for the entire year, why not choose to make a new resolution every three months? This way you can focus your energies on one resolution each quarter of the year. You can even set a goal that is identifiable — meaning you will know without a doubt whether you achieve or not. You can even set a timeline. Here are some examples:

1. “I’m going to lose 10 pounds by March 31, 2010.”

2. “I’m going to cook a healthy meal at home twice a week until January 31, 2009.”

3. “I’m going to do yoga three times a week until February 28, 2009.”

By giving yourself a timeline you mentally prepare yourself to carry through on your commitment. And you have a higher probability of actually doing what you say you’re going to do. Once your timeline passes you can even choose to continue doing the activities you’ve been doing. In fact, you might find you’ve created a new habit! So instead of staking your desires on a vague full-year resolution, split ’em up! If the idea of a “Quarterly Resolution” doesn’t work for you, do a “Monthly Resolution”. The whole purpose of a resolution is to give you a situation in which to focus your passion and energies. What is it that you want to do this year? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to be? It all starts with a statement. And that statement is…

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