A Resolution Problem for all Resolutions

  • Jan. 4, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Pipestone Flyer

Vol 15, Issue 1

Ushering in a brand new year is one of the biggest annual celebrations around the world.  As a major marker of the passage of time, it seems natural for most to look back over the past twelve months and ponder, invariably seeing things that need improvement or changes that need to occur in order to make life better.

We can’t help but look to the year ahead as a clean slate.  A new year presents another chance, another opportunity to make it a better year, by making promises to ourselves that we call resolutions.  The starting line is right in front of your feet wherever they hit the floor the morning of January 1.

New Year resolutions are most often about quitting smoking/eating healthier/working out or other form of self-improvement.

As individualistic as we are, we behave very much the same en masse regarding new year resolutions.  We’re amazing.

Bursting through the gates of a new year fuelled by goals, self-promises, and motivation, to power down and give up before we get half way around the track.  For those of you, like I, who have done this for years, I decided to carry out a little research into how not to sabotage our resolutions.

Campus Life Magazine cites statistics that say that 25% of New Year’s Resolutions are discarded within 15 weeks (Personally, I don’t think 15 weeks is so bad, I’ve discarded a couple resolutions within 15 minutes.)  Another study found that those who vowed to spend more time with family or fly somewhere exciting were more successful than those who made resolutions to quit smoking or drinking.  Just my thoughts, but I don’t think we needed a study to tell us that one.

According to a new Ipsos-Reid poll (www.ipsos-na.com), eight out of ten have failed to keep past resolutions, but then I read a BBC report that says although most of us will make resolutions, only one in ten will succeed.

But we’re Canadian, and as such we are ever-optimistic; we may have screwed up resolutions for years, but that won’t stop us from taking the runner’s stance at that New Year start line we talked about earlier.

Here is a list of some of the most valuable tips to help us stick to new year’s resolutions:

– Set a reasonable goal. Make just one resolution, and if it seems overwhelming,  break it down into smaller, manageable parts.  For example, if you want to lose 40 pounds, focus on losing ten first.  By making ten pounds your goal, it is more quickly attainable and will help with motivation for the next ten.

– Write your resolution down.  Make a plan.  The simple act of writing out your goals make them feel more solid, more reachable.

– Resolutions require deep committment.  Those of quitting smoking/drinking, cutting down on television or changing eating habits, all involve lifestyle changes, and lifestyle changes demand a true desire to change.

– Rally support.  It may not sound like much, but reaching for a bottle of water or lifesaver instead of a cigarette day after day, or whatever lifestyle change one is making, there may be weak moments.  Phone up a friend and, this is the most important part, make yourself talk about all the advantages and positives that are happening because of the changes you are making. In a weak moment, it’s easy to to slip into the justification of an old habit.  Talking about the reasons for doing what you are doing, is reinforcing, and strengthening.

– The truth is, real change is in decision, whether it’s New Year’s or May long.  And true decision is based on one thing: how important is it to us?

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