A Promise Is A Promise

By Chelle Cordero

November 10, 2015 4 min read

A resolution is a promise made to oneself to improve a situation. Since you are the one who is resolving to make changes in your life, this is something you, alone, must decide to do. What does keeping this resolution mean to you? Will reaching this goal make you feel better? Don't repeat resolutions you've made in previous years that you have been unsuccessful with without a serious change to the game plan.

Jan. 1 represents a fresh beginning -- a time when people close the door on the past and look forward to the new year. Common resolutions involve weight loss, financial security, getting a new job, taking a vacation or practicing better time management. Sometimes people make resolutions based on someone else's expectations and are frustrated when they fail. Others make resolutions because they seek personal improvement or are unsatisfied with their current situation.

Many resolutions are made and many are never achieved. According to a 2015 study from the University of Scranton, only 8 percent of individuals achieve their resolute goals. There are some tips that will help make the goals more attainable. Living with a resolution means creating new habits and changing your usual ways. Be honest with yourself and understand why this may be something you want or something you may wish to give up. Most importantly, know what you are hoping to gain by achieving your goal.

Don't set yourself up for failure; the end goal should be realistic. Making a resolution to win the lottery this year is not something that is in your control, and therefore should not be a goal. Resolving to lose 100 lbs. by summer has a very low likelihood of happening by healthy means; however, resolving to lose one or two pounds per week is very realistic with the proper plan. Break your goal down into achievable steps and chunks; don't overreach and expect everything to happen at once. If you stray one day, remember that the next day starts with a clean slate and your resolutions don't have an expiration date.

Just as you wouldn't plan to drive to a new destination without directions, you need to plan what steps you will take towards your goal. If your resolution is to build up your savings account this year, plan how and where the money you plan to deposit will come from. For example, if you previously had no money to put into savings and barely covered your bills, how are you going to change that? Examine the habits you have to change in order to change the outcome; repeating the previous pattern will only repeat the previous results.

Holding yourself accountable will help you achieve results. Write your resolutions on a list and post it on your refrigerator. Join a support group of people who have similar goals. Tell a friend. Sharing your goals with someone else will keep you from ignoring the promise you have made. Keep a diary and list your achievements. It's good to have a record of what you are doing and how close you are getting to your goal. Reward yourself every time you complete a step with something you enjoy that will not set you back in your quest, and be sure to go big when you do reach your goal.

Make resolutions that are in your control and realistic. Choose goals that you care about personally and map out the steps you will need to take. Choose a goal date as a guide, but don't give up if the date comes and goes. Making new resolutions and beginning to work toward your goals can happen at any time. Replacing past actions with healthy habits could become a way of life.

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