What is the point of New Year’s Resolutions?

Another year comes rolling to an end, and another round of New Year’s Resolutions start flying about.  Given the failure rates of New Year Resolutions, it is surprising how people still persist in making them.

These resolutions are generally motivated by the desire for a fresh start.  The prospect of a New Year being the magic wand that erases all the mistakes and procrastination of the previous year is undeniably appealing.  But there is no magic wand.  Things don’t happen just because the date changes from 31 December to 1 January and a resolution made.  New Year resolutions are fickle.

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Tips for making your 2013 resolutions work

Tip #1 – Substitute “resolution” for “challenge”

No more new year resolutions!  Issue yourself a challenge and make a plan with concrete steps.  Make sure the steps are small enough so they are not overwhelming but have a deadline that is realistic.

Tip #2 – Build accountability into the process

Have an accountability partner for your goals – a trusted friend, a peer with a shared goal (think gym buddy!) or a coach, someone who will keep you on track.  Give them permission to drag you over the coals when you don’t follow through.

Tip #3 – Up the ante

The reason most new year resolutions fizzle is because there is no consequence for lack of follow through, so make sure there is a consequence.  What will it cost you to not follow through?  What should it cost you?  You may need to empower your accountability partner to enforce this consequence!

Tip #4 – Reward yourself

It’s a common mistake to think that the resolution is reward in itself.  Since we are re-framing new year resolutions into a goal or a challenge, it would be appropriate to build a reward system into the process.  Tip #3 and #4 work hand in hand like a carrot and stick.

What’s been your experience with new year resolutions?  Are you an exception to the rule and have the worked for you?

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  1. Pingback: A FRESH YEAR, A FRESH CHANGE: 7 resolutions to a great 2013 « halfeatenmind

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