New year resolutions always get me thinking. Mainly because they are usually the same…rather it is to lose weight, keep better records or stay in touch, they are a dime a dozen and stick like Velcro on a potato. December is a month spent riding on the pretense that in January “things are changing.” The justification for lavish eating, drinking, smoking, and spending all for the misconception that “this year things will be different.”

Things are not different. The year will repeat the last and in a matter of weeks, the resolutions will give way to the desire of what drove you in December…longing for instant gratification.

I think resolutions fail because the gratification doesn’t seep into your body like the buzz of a Long Island or the slow soothing of nicotine. Rather the satisfaction of adhered to resolutions create holes that are memories of food, drink and vices that were abandoned. When something is taken away it becomes a source of fixation. If you want this years resolution to stick, there must be a new fixation. Rather than the loss of something that made you feel good — and did it really? Did the hangover, the fat, the cough, the bill really satisfy anything? — look toward something else that makes you feel better. Set a small goal…rather than lose 50 lbs, shoot for 5 lbs.

You can’t trade stopping something that offers immediate gratification with a resolution that will bring delayed long term gratification and expect it to work.

Set yourself up for success not failure by creating small goals within your large goal. Make the progress visual by posting a list and checking off your small goals as you reach them. The visualization of seeing checks next to accomplishments will help ensure you that your hard work is paying off. It works with any resolution. Chart the bills you pay off, the money you save, the people you call each week/month, the days you haven’t smoked, the words you haven’t said, the acts you haven’t done.

If you mess up, it is ok, start again. Make your resolution to make it a year, not to change your behavior. If your goal is to “start working out” there is nothing to keep you going…your goal was to start, you reached it. If your goal doesn’t have a timeline, it is easier to let it fade in to the background along with the satisfaction you could have with the purpose behind it.

I have never met anyone who reached a goal and wished instead they had reverted
to the behavior that got them in the predicament in the first place. Never.

What ever your proposed resolution is, if you don’t start with a plan, you can rely on failing. Do yourself a favor, think it through and be realistic about your resolution or save yourself the trouble and those around you the aggravation.