Do you believe in resolutions?

I used to believe in the power of resolutions. Sort of like the power of positive affirmations, or the idea that writing down goals increases the chances they’ll be achieved. Well, strike that last thought, because I am at the point where I often forget what I don’t make a note of – like, that we’re out of milk, or I need to stop at the dry cleaners. So resolutions and positive affirmations – I classify as ‘not effective’. Writing down goals – effective.

It’s not that I’m against resolutions. Resolving to do something – or to not do something, or to let others do something without condemnation or comment – can be a good thing, especially when you want to make a change. You may want to be less critical, or eat healthier, or do more volunteer work.  So you ‘resolve’ to make the changes you want to see, without thinking too hard about why you haven’t already done these good things a, b, and c.

Most of the time we don’t make changes because change is difficult. It’s even harder the  longer you’ve had to invest in your habits. Let’s say I’m a smoker. (I’m not.) And I decide my new year’s resolution is to stop smoking.  Does making a resolution make it more likely I will stop smoking? I say no. Instead I recommend the power of public declaration, which relies on the power of embarrassment.  I may want to stop smoking, I may resolve to stop smoking, but I’m more likely to make that change if I tell everyone I know, that’s my plan.

So make your resolutions if you must – but make them as public as you can, given the subject matter involved.  You may inspire a friend or spouse to help you change, provide you with a little support, or at least let you know when they see you stray, they’re watching.

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One Response to Do you believe in resolutions?

  1. Corinne Gregory says:

    I was “musing” about the same thing the last few days — about New Year’s resolutions and about why so many fail. Change is hard, that’s true, but we can set ourselves up to succeed rather than fail when it comes to positive change. Here’s what I wrote on the subject – perhaps it’ll be helpful to your readers as well!

    http://corinnegregory.com/blog/2012/01/03/success-strategies-changing-is-hard-but-change-doesnt-have-to-be/

    To your success!

    – Corinne Gregory
    http://www.corinnegregory.com

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