What comes after writing resolutions?
How to Keep Resolutions!
December 26, 2022 at 4:19 p.m.
Words are serious to me. They have weight and consequences. I have annual lists of resolutions going back many years with checkmarks next to most of the items.
Yes, that does feel good! Here are some tips for keeping resolutions.
- Take this process seriously. If you start with the attitude that this is just a New Year’s Eve party activity or that making resolutions is a hopeless pursuit, you’ve doomed the outcome. Encourage yourself by remembering that list and plan writing are famously known as central in goal accomplishment.
- Be specific. A general aim like “get healthier” or “make more money” is too vague. “Eat more vegetables and fruit” and “add clients” are better. I often enumerate many methods to reach a significant or challenging goal. More structure is better than less. My yearly inventory of objectives is in outline form, including Roman numerals, followed by capital letters, followed by lower case letters: lots of detail, lots of tactics to try.
- Revisit. I look at my list of resolutions regularly. This keeps them fresh in my mind and encourages expenditure of effort on their behalf. Revisiting also allows me to recognize if I’ve accidentally let an endeavor creep in that was based in some momentary passion or desire to get approval from others. That doesn’t happen too often anymore, but that type of aspiration is easily crossed off the list, leaving more time and energy for my heartfelt endeavors. Do I really want to be in a high stress job, take on a big mortgage, spend a year in a cabin writing the Great American Novel, or own even more pets? Nope.
- Redefine. Allow re-wording, adding or editing details, or even eliminating ambitions. I like to look at resolutions as like a group of plans or intentions, rather than wish lists. If an item looks unrealistic or undesirable, I let it go. This is not a Herculean feat, an obstacle course, or an unchangeable commitment. The reason for writing resolutions, after all, is to have a better life. However, I never let go of an objective simply because it’s hard to reach. Instead, I let my attempts inform me. What doesn’t work is a great clue for what will succeed. Often getting more specific or more seriously committed solves the problems. Sometimes, it’s only a matter of ruling out strategies that don’t thrive until, finally, one or a few arrive that do!
- Enjoy. When my hopes are attained, I take pleasure checking them off. It’s a reward. Looking back at years’ worth of these goals—most carried out—is a wonderful mood boost I use when I’m feeling tired, discouraged, or unsure.
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