Happy New Year! Resolutions for the Rest of Us

Today I received a mailing (in my actual outside, snow and ice covered mailbox) from a local gym, challenging me to “get fit by Spring” for only $10 per month. Ahhh…New Year’s resolutions, we love them, but while most of us have good intentions, we often fall short in meeting our goals.

The act of making New Year’s resolutions goes back thousands of years. According to History.com, yearly attempts at personal improvement began with the ancient Babylonians. Hoping to find favor with the gods, Babylonians made promises that included getting out of debt and returning borrowed farm equipment.

Returning borrowed items may not make the top ten resolutions these days (although, I’ve had my sister-in-law’s crock pot since October), getting out of debt continues to vex many people

I contacted The Google to find a more modern list of New Year’s resolutions. The most popular include:

Lose weight and get fit

Quit smoking

Learn something new

Eat healthier and diet

Get out of debt and save money

Spend more time with family

Travel to new places

Be less stressed

Volunteer

Drink less

Sound familiar? Each year, many of us make a big list of resolutions, but few succeed in making long-term changes. But I’m here to tell you, it’s not really our fault. Changing long-term is hard and not a natural part of human nature, and according to psychology professor Art Markman, it’s our lack of preparation that dooms us to failure.

In a column he wrote for Time.com, Mr. Markmam suggests we focus on the positive in our lives rather than the negative by creating new good habits rather than trying to stop the bad ones.

In addition, many of us head into resolutions with a “fervent wish” rather than a plan to succeed. As athletes, we train and work towards a goal, the same theory applies to resolutions. Resolutions should be specific. Rather than say “I want to get fit,” open the calendar and schedule three workouts each week.

Another suggestion (not from Time.com) is to enlist a friend or family member to hold you accountable. Publically declaring something on Facebook helps keep things real.

One final point, and it’s a good one. Whether you succeed or not, be kind to yourself. Even the ancient Babylonians forgot to return their brother-in-law’s plow (or crockpot) once in a while.

Wishing you and yours the very best 2016, full of laughter, love and adventure!  Happy New Year!

What do you think?