New Year's resolutions

OP ED from Mark DeLap

The new year marks a fresh start. New ideas. Reshaped goals and renewed motivation.

The question has forever lingered in the auld Lange syne.  Are they good, are they bad are they frivolous?

By the time you read this, there have already been millions of resolutions made and broken. How are you doing on yours.  According to a study published by the Journal of Clinical Psychology less than half of all resolutions are kept.

That sets up half of us up for failure. Quite a scary thing.

People that have done extensive research on the subject say that resolutions can be good for you because they can cause you to not only make a plan, but to take action. This moves the body in the right direction and provides purpose, stability and a sense of accomplishment.

On the other hand, if the resolution is broken, it can send you into a tailspin of frustration, guilt and self-flagellation.

Here are some simple reminders and tips for your resolutions this year.

First of all, don’t make a bushel basket of resolutions. Especially if it hasn’t panned out in the past. Choose one or maybe two at the most. The game is not won by how many resolutions you make, but how many you keep.

Secondly, keep the resolution front and center and at the forefront of your day. Little Post-it notes can help. For instance, if your resolution is to come away from coffee (God forbid) you may want to put an “out of order” sign on the Keurig. Never let habits trump your lack of memory.

Then, if the resolution is something that seems like jumping up into a third-story window, remember to use the stairs. Some might say “baby steps.” Don’t make the jump all at once. It can get too overwhelming, if not impossible. The term “cold turkey” comes to mind and that only works on bread with mayo.

If you are eliminating things from your life, cut back little by little. Slow and steady wins the race.

Planning. Have a strategy and troubleshoot the pitfalls. Make lists of how you are going to attack this enemy. Don’t be afraid to list the “what ifs.” What if I am bored and need to revert? What if someone tempts me to eat that cookie? What if it’s raining outside and it just feels too good to stay in bed instead of going to the gym?

Plan on a way of escape when the battle gets fierce. Retreat is not defeat. You may have to even set yourself up to remember that old adage that to lose a battle doesn’t mean losing the war and abandoning the plan.

And finally, what if you do fail or falter?  Would it be possible to make your resolution as never giving up?

“I vow to quit doing thus and so. And if I fall 39 times, I will rise again on the 40th time and continue my resolution which is a resolution to keep my resolution.”

Get back on the horse and continue to learn the ride.


More In Community