Resolving not to Resolute

Q: Each year I come up with a New Year’s resolution, but by mid-way through the year my resolve isn’t in it to maintain toward my goal. What am I doing wrong, is there a character flaw that I have that may make me not good at following through? Or should I just give up resolutions all together?
Signed, Resolving to not Resolute.

A: Dear Resolving to not resolute,
First off, know that you are NOT alone, there is no character flaw. To put things in perspective, a study done at the University of Scranton found that just 8% of us actually achieve those resolutions — even though 40% of us actually make them. So many of us look at New Year’s Resolutions from the point of view of, “What’s wrong with me that I need to fix?” Right there you are already starting from a negative viewpoint, so how will it then get you a positive result? Instead of making a resolution, resolve to just take a few moments and ask yourself: “What makes me happy?” Will a workout make me happy right now, or will I feel better sitting on the couch for one more episode of Downtown Abbey? It’s about goals and your vision for your life, not a specific date and a resolution. There’s an important reason we need a vision and separate goals. Chances are you will miss one of your goals but if you have a vision it will remain intact, which is motivation to continue.
Here are some tips that can help you to accomplish your goals – not your resolutions:

1. Create a vision. A vision is your life in the long term. Think about how your life will be different, what those changes would look like. Get specific. Imagine the details.
2. Create goals. You do this after you have your vision. The goals will be something attainable and will involve small steps. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, start with a goal of getting moving 3 days a week by walking more and using the stairs instead of the elevator.
3. Reward yourself for success. Acknowledge the accomplished goal with a little treat. Perhaps enjoy a night out at the movies or time with friends.
4. Don’t beat yourself up when you fail to meet a goal. Pick up from where you left off. These are ongoing –a process to get your goals to match your vision. We all take steps forward and back. It’s ok to start again. Just don’t give up!

When you take a minute to simply look within yourself, you will more often than not make the right choice for your life. And you won’t have to limit yourself to arbitrary dates and beating yourself up for not getting where you think you need to be. Lose the resolution and resolve to choose happiness.

Wishing you great health,

Dr. Ingrid

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