Here we go again: How many people make promises to themselves every December 31st to make huge changes in their lives for the upcoming year? They may not seem huge or impossible at the time but, really, does anyone keep track of how many ‘resolutions’ fall off the rails during the first week? That's why I don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer the term, "Casual promises to myself that I am under no legal obligation to fulfill."
Rethinking your resolutions could help you achieve that self-improvement that seems so appealing early in the new year. Here are a few ways to make your resolutions more achievable:
- Create resolutions with definite, measurable goals. Take one of my favourite resolutions, for example: "This year, I will be more positive and less sarcastic… (Like I won’t screw that up right away.)"
Simply being "more positive" or "less sarcastic" is difficult to measure. What if we change this broad goal to a simple one with a measurable result: "This year, I want to start the day with a smile." Seems more achievable already, doesn't it? Just a smile. It could be a memory that makes you smile, looking at a photo of a loved one (a grandchild, child, or puppy), or a joke posted on Facebook
- Make sure your resolutions are achievable. For example, "My new year’s resolution is to stop procrastinating. I’m not starting until next week though."
Can you really stop procrastinating in entirety? Sometimes it's fine to take a rest and leave a task for another day. Instead, maybe we could change this resolution to " I want to accomplish one goal each week. No matter how small." If may not feel as grand, but it is likely to be far more successful than changing your behaviour entirely
- Be positive. When it comes to growth and self-improvement, attitude is everything.
- Be thankful last year is over.
- Lower your expectations.
- Don’t make resolutions.
- Be thankful for a fresh start.
- Manage your expectations.
- Explore what is missing in life, and how I might pursue it.
Instead of making a resolution like this:
New Year’s Eve To do list:
Try reframing your goals so that they make you feel hope for the future.
New Year’s Eve To do list:
- Commit to what may be a difficult task.
Instead of telling yourself that it is impossible, or too hard, give yourself permission to fail and try again. Self-improvement isn't all-or-nothing. If you break your resolution in the first month, it doesn't mean you have failed for the year. Mark it as a learning experience and try again tomorrow.
What ever you decide to do, whether you make a new year’s resolution or not, have a wonderful 2024. Stay healthy and happy!
Until next time,
Joyce Loucks is the chair of ARTA's Wellness Committee for 2024. After a long career of being a physical education teacher, Joyce is still eager to share knowledge about wellness in all its forms.