How to make resolutions that work

2009.jpgYou might think you’re making New Year’s Resolutions but are you really just compiling a wish list?

Did you make a well intentioned list of resolutions at the start of 2008 which have failed to bear fruit? Could you take last year’s list and simply change the 2008 on the top of the list to 2009?

How do you make resolutions that work? What’s the difference between New Year’s Resolutions and a wish list?

I’ve had an Amazon Wish List for quite some time. It’s a list of things I’d like, but simply listing those things doesn’t mean anything unless I, or someone else, decides to take action and buy someting from the list. The stuff on the list now is the same as the stuff that was there when I created it. Wishing doesn’t make it happen.

If I say that I want to lose weight in 2009 that’s a wish. If I set out a sensible weight loss strategy with achievable short and long term goals though the year it’s a resolution.

If I say I’d like to make family time more of a priority this year, it’s a wish. If I book time in my diary and plan to give up activities that would otherwise get in the way of that happening, that’s a resolution.

If I say I’d like to read more over the next twelve months, that’s a wish. If I select some books, create a reading plan and then move other activities out of the way to give me the time to read, that’s a resolution.

Resolutions need a concrete action plan with achievable, measurable goals. It can also be helpful to find someone who will keep you accountable to your goals. Maybe there’s someone with a similar goal or resolution who will work with you so that you can both achieve your plans. It might be someone who is already doing well in an area in which you’d like to improve. Ask them to help keep you moving towards your goal and to give you any advice you need to get there.

The other thing to keep in mind is that if we’re making lifestyle changes we’ll probably fail now and then. The aim is to keep going rather than just throwing in the towel the first time you trip up. Even if you don’t reach your goals at the set time, you’ll still be further down the track if you get up after a setback, dust yourself off, and start moving in the right direction again.

If you are going to see 2009 as an opportunity for change you might like to break down your resolutions into various categories such as Health and Fitness, Spirituality, Family and Relationships, Finance, Career and other areas that touch your life.

Who do you want to be on the first of January 2010? What will you do during 2009 to make that a reality?

As 2008 draws to a close, are you going to make resolutions or a wish list for 2009?

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Hello Badong. I think that just saying that you want to be more understanding won’t help you a lot if you don’t look at ways of making that happen.

    If my resolution was to be more understanding I’d first decide on who or what I wanted focus more understanding. If it was a particular group of people, for instance, I’d plan to spend time reading more about that group of people to understand more of who they are and what makes them the people they are.

    If it was broader and a desire to be more understanding of people in general I’d decide to listen to what people are saying and to consider their point of view before making judgement. I’d make the decision to ask more questions so that I could really hear a person instead of assuming I knew what they meant.

    These are only little things, and there’s lots more I could do, but they’re real steps to ensure that my desire becomes a reality.

  • I’d like to add something for those who want to give something up. Last year I successfully weaned myself off of some powerful medication that had become counter productive. This year I’ll be doing the same for coffee and sweets. I’ve drunk bucket loads of coffee over the many years and eaten more sweet treats than most people I know. I am not going to go cold turkey – that’s just silly. For coffee I’ve taken myself down from however many I want in a day, which at one stage could have been as many as 12 down to one a day and starting today I’m going 1 every second day then next month every 2nd and so on. I’m doing the same with sweets – this is biscuits, ice cream, cake, anything compromised of mainly useless sugar and fat.
    I would advise to do this with any bad habit that is very hard to get out of, however when it comes to drugs like tobacco and alcohol seek professional help.

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