It’s a proverbial joke that New Year’s resolutions are made to be broken. We’ve all heard of the guy whose one resolution was: To stop making New Year’s resolutions. But many people (so I still think) make New Year’s resolutions with a view towards some sort of self-improvement or perhaps helping others. Generally they are things like losing weight, walking more, organizing better, saving, and so forth.
If I were ever asked what the one single thing I would recommend at the exclusion of all other things that would make the biggest improvement in a person’s over-all health, it would be to get moving and keep moving. To be active and to do as much non-stop, preferably leisurely (non-working), activity as possible. Walking fits this bill.
Surveys and studies continue to show that in the instance of a person who is sedentary yet has normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, ideal weight, and no risk factors, that given all things are equal, they will suffer heart attacks, strokes, and other health problems at an earlier age than their counterpart who is active and moving, and engages in regular, aerobic (non-stop) activity.
The same holds true for obesity. Comparing two people who are obese or well overweight, all things being equal, the one who is regularly active is the one who will enjoy better health and fewer health problems over time, even if neither lose a single pound.
But to adopt a resolution, which usually requires creating a new habit, involves giving it the attention it needs in order to achieve it. And therein lies the rub as to why some or many resolutions are never accomplished. Because in these instances the resolution is simply a wish or dream and not a meaningful intention or goal. What is the difference or what about a genuine resolution makes it something that will actually be achieved?
That one thing is the same thing that makes anything achievable or attainable: the attention you give to it. This applies to every activity in any walk of life. Your friend, your spouse, your homework, your grades, your job, your driving, and yes new habits (which is what a resolution mandates). The more time and attention you give to something, to anything, the more of it will happen or happen around it.
What are some ways you can give the needed attention to a resolution? Here are a few that have been proven to bring about the success one seeks in achieving something, anything.
1. Set a goal and write it down. Goals and wishes are often vague because they are not specific. The solution to preventing the failed resolution is to set specific goals. I wrote a blog a while back on the establishment of specific goals and new habits (“Making the Change from Desire to Reality” 9/25/11). The more specific you are about what you want to achieve the more likely you are to achieve it. Writing it down and reading it aloud in the
morning on arising and on going to bed without a doubt makes it more likely you will achieve your goal.
2. Make yourself the only person and only factor and only condition by which the resolution can be achieved. To include another person, persons, entity, or organization dooms, in most cases, the resolution to failure. While losing weight with a partner/friend might for some people be easier and more apt to
produce results, the likelihood that both of you will adhere to an agreed upon schedule often diminishes with time.
3. The resolution has to be achievable and doable. To resolve to lose 30 pounds in one month is unrealistic, not to mention probably unhealthy. Do you have access to the resources (time and money) to get it done? Is it truly an achievable goal and not a wish, or a pie-in-the-sky dream?
Other good resolutions might be: to create something, to build something, to save something, to revere or honor something, or to give something different.
Whatever resolutions you’ve made, be realistic about it, be specific, write it down, read it aloud twice daily, and be individually and personally responsible to it.