If you are anything like most people then you probably have a New Year’s resolution. There is something enticing about the New Year and renewed commitment to personal goals. The psychological impact of a clean slate is often the impetus for people to commit to change in their lives. For many it is the opportunity to change without baggage of the previous year. A fresh start. Who can resist?
I’ve bought into the idea of resolutions, and have committed myself to some form of self improvement just about every December 31st. Like most mature individuals, I know I am not perfect and while some of my imperfections are just part of my personality, my family will let you know there are deficiencies that could be improved upon. The crux of a resolution, is after all, personal growth.
Usually, my resolution has something to do with eating healthier and shedding a few pounds. Since I have made that same resolution each year, it is obvious that I don’t actually maintain the resolution throughout the year. Actually, about 20 percent of the people who bother to make a resolution actually break it within the first week.
So far this year, I am not one of the 20 percent, but then again, eating healthier and exercise were not my primary resolutions for 2012. This year my goal is something that I was fairly certain I would follow through with and be successful with. It has less to do with what I will do for myself and more to do with what I can do for others. It's a win/win resolution.
While losing weight is a seemingly popular goal come January 1st, other popular resolutions include managing debt, stress, quitting smoking, reduce, reuse and recycle, save money, and volunteer to help others. These are quite worthy resolutions. Think about the ramifications. If everyone was able to follow through all year long we would be on our way to being a calm, fit, healthy, financially responsible, green, people loving society.
Psychologists tell us that in order to follow through with a resolution there are a few rules we should heed. They suggest that the resolution be simple, as well as realistic. I think many of us have difficulty with both points. I mean, how do you know if it’s realistic if you haven’t tried it before? And simple? I have come to believe that change is never simple. It’s hard work and requires diligence on every level of one’s being. It is no small wonder that so many resolutions fail within the first week.
Even worse, some studies claim that as high as 85 percent of resolutions fail by the end of January and 96 percent by the end of six months. Now that is really depressing.
But I am convinced it is better to try than to not try at all. Taking some time every year's end to sift through what is good in your life and what is not can only lead to positive change. Making goals and committing to change is the first step. The second, more challenging step is follow through.
You can do it! If you believe, you will succeed!