How to make a New Year's Resolution that Sticks

Every year as January 1 dawns, we all decide to really make an effort to lose weight, eat healthier, start an exercise routine, blah, blah, blah. Great sentiments, great intentions, lousy time to do it!

The fact is if we really wanted to do those things, we would be doing them already. Every time we force ourselves to start up these regimes because “it’s the thing to do,” we set ourselves up for failure. Each time we fail, we accumulate more evidence to prove to ourselves that our wish list is unattainable. It becomes more difficult to believe that we can ever have things the way we would like them to be. Ridiculous! Of course it’s possible but New Year’s resolutions are simply the wrong approach.

What are resolutions anyway? They are goals. When you set a goal, what you’re really doing is saying there is something lacking in your life. You are focusing on a negative aspect and giving it all your attention. No wonder resolutions don’t work out! Half the time, your resolutions aren’t even what YOU want, they’re what you THINK you should want based on what others are saying or doing. These resolutions actually detract from your feeling of self-worth and take away your self-confidence.

This year, sit down and decide what it is you really want from the coming year. If you want to save more money or pay off debt, start small – put away $5-10/week or pay an extra $10 a pay cheque toward debts and feel good about it! If you want to quit smoking, don’t do it cold turkey. Instead, promise yourself not to give in to one craving per day. As time goes on, up the ante until you’re down to one or two cigarettes per day – then decide if you really want to quit completely. If you want to start an exercise routine, decide what would be easiest for you to fit into your life. If it’s going for a walk once a day, it might be easier to keep up if you wait until April when the weather is nicer. Or if you need extra incentive, make a pact to go with a friend who has the same goal or offer to walk someone’s dog every day.  If you want to find more time for the things you really want to do, make a list of all the things you do in a day/week/month and decide which of those things are really important and which can be dropped.  Delegate to family members if you can or simply give yourself a break. For example, is it really all that important to have a spotless home? Is it realistic? Many things that we talk ourselves into doing aren't really necessary at all...

Whatever you do and whenever you decide to start, make a commitment to stick to it for at least 4 straight weeks. Once that period is over, the habit should be formed enough for you to keep it up. If that isn’t the case, choose a different method to achieve your intention or let go of this idea until it really matters enough to you to keep it up. Either way, be sure to reward yourself for having made the effort.

Let this year be the year you take a step toward making a change that enhances your life, do it because you really want to do it, commit yourself to it and make it happen.

Happy New Year!

With a small budget, big dreams and a love of a challenge, Anne blogs about renovating and decorating her tiny 1930s bungalow. A self-taught artist and professed power tool lover, she enjoys writing, gardening, photography, nature and diy'ing. And she's never met a dumpster she didn’t want to root through! Come along for the ride!!

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  1. Thanks for the reminder Anne. Can't wait for the 2014 projects!

  2. Great post Anne and I agree. We pick things that we tend not to commit to. I am planning on trying to grow my blog once in the new house and to take care of myself more with my health. Happy New Year, friend!!!


  3. Anne
    I share your perspective on resolutions.
    This was so well written and good advice-thanks!

  4. Great post. I totally agree with you. I dislike New Year's resolutions because they never work and then guilt sets in. Your advice is so wise.

    1. Thank you Katie! So glad you popped in!

  5. Small changes really can add up. Great advice!

  6. Spot on, Anne. Resolve to change or improve should or could happen any time of year and because a situation warrants it, not because it Jan 1st. Great tips on looking at the whole concept differently!!

  7. Thank you lady! I'll take all the tips and help I can get!!

  8. What you say is very true, Anne. Happy New Year!

  9. Happy New Year Anne! I like the idea of turning new years resolutions into habits after a period of weeks. It makes the whole idea of making a change doable.


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