Letters & Opinion

Sticking To Your Resolutions

Image of Sharlene Cassius
Sharlene Cassius

RINGING in a new year is always exciting. We pop bottles of champagne, enjoy great fireworks displays, and anticipate even more prosperity and good fortune than the last year had to offer. For many, it is also an opportunity to reform their lives and become better people, but with these noble pursuits come inevitable challenges. It’s the season for resolution making, but also resolution breaking. In light of the difficulties associated with keeping these resolutions, you may find the following tips helpful.

Write it down and hang it up.

It’s always commendable when individuals make conscious decisions to make positive life changes. While these decisions may be made with every intention of following up on them, resolutions can be easily forgotten. The probability of remembering these goals is especially reduced when persons get caught up with the endless mundane and unpredictable tasks that can easily distract them: housekeeping, work responsibilities, familial obligations and more. Considering these distractions, writing down resolutions and pinning them up in a conspicuous location where they can be seen daily are vital steps towards ensuring that they are fulfilled. They offer a point of future reference and an ongoing visual reminder that will keep resolutions at the forefront of a person’s mind. If you’re reminded about your resolutions every day, you’re much more likely to stick to them.

Make yourself accountable to someone.

When a person makes a commitment to him/herself without the pressure of a third party to answer to, it’s easy to understand how many people completely abandon their resolutions before January is done. For instance, you may be familiar with the following scenario or similar ones. December 31: “I’m going to start jogging every morning, starting January 1,” you tell yourself. January 1: “I’m just going to enjoy my New Year’s holidays and start next week,” you tell yourself the next time. Before you know it, January is done, weeks turn into months, and your resolution becomes a distant memory.

Instead of making excuses to yourself, find a good friend or family member that you can become accountable to. That way, you may not easily fall into the trap of getting away with the excuses that you tell yourself to postpone or avoid those difficult but beneficial changes. Ensure that you’re not just telling this person what your resolutions are, but also asking them to make sure you stick to them. Pick the friend who will unabashedly pester you to stick to your commitment. That’s exactly the sort of support system you need to make your resolutions happen. You’ll thank your friend for it.

Take a trip down memory lane.

Remember last year? Remember how you felt when you realised that yet another year had passed and you failed to stick to your resolutions? Failure can be a bitter pill to swallow, but sometimes, remembering past failures can sometimes be the tonic that can propel a person to overcome them. Though most people don’t enjoy mentally reliving past failures, anyone can utilize these feelings to motivate them to do better, so they won’t make their past mistakes a reality yet again. Take yourself back to last year and decide to keep your resolutions this time.

Reward yourself when you hit milestones.

Granted, it is important to remember past mistakes to avoid repeating them, but do not beat yourself up about it. Taking time to reward oneself is also a crucial part of encouraging yourself to stick to your resolutions. Therefore, it may be helpful to decide how you hope to reward yourself upon meeting certain milestones. For instance, let’s say you would like to lose thirty pounds for the new year. It won’t hurt to select a desirable reward for every five pounds that you shed. Your parents are probably very familiar with how powerful rewards can be. They knew what you loved and used it for a desired result. They may have bribed you with the possibility of an increased allowance or a new bike―you name it― and abracadabra, your grades went up, you changed your behaviour and you continued to do well simply because of the promise of one or more rewards. It’s time to use the same tactic that your parents knew all too well, so you can stick to your resolutions.

Visualize your desired result.

Picture yourself enjoying the result you look forward to once you’ve stuck to your resolutions. Focus on these positive feelings and use them to propel you into action.

In a nutshell, sticking to resolutions can be a very rewarding feeling, once a person can overcome the challenges associated with keeping them. Write down your resolutions, become accountable to someone, reward yourself, remember your past, practise visualization, and enjoy the new year knowing that your resolutions will be met.

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