New Year’s Resolutions
Dr. Ken Patterson, MD
They get a bad rap because of the reputation for repeated failures – probably well deserved. All the same, they are a great idea. At the end of a year and the start of a new one, simple reevaluation of how the year went, what could go better, and a judgement of whether or not we are on the path to high quality and long life. Then making resolutions to get on the path. But, these resolutions often fail for a reason – we’ll look at why they fail, and how we can make resolutions with a high chance of success.
Why they don’t work – up to 80% fail
The most common:
Be a better person
These are vague
Can’t be measured
Too difficult or just plain Impossible
We fail to allocate resources sufficient to the task
We don’t anticipate the difficulty
And most important of all – we don’t enlist help!
How to make them work “SMART”
Specific – not weight loss, but 2 lbs a month for the year
Measurable – get on the scales
Achievable – not 2 lbs/week
Relevant – how does the resolution relate to your purpose in life?
Time-based – Starting and stopping point
How to pick a goal:
Make a list of 5 possible resolutions
Evaluate them by the “SMART” criteria
Ask the question, “how will this resolution help me achieve my Purpose for living?” or more simply “how does it fit in with my ‘why’”?
Visualize the accomplishment of each goal – and see how it feels.
Pick the goal that makes you feel the best. Save the rest of the goals for 2019. Write the goal down, put it in notes on your phone. Set a weekly or monthly reminder alarm “see New Years Resolution”. And journal.
Make the environment fit the goal. Set yourself up for success. If your resolution is to “exercise more”, CHANGE IT to “Join Anytime Fitness, Get a personal trainer, Exercise 45 minutes three times a week.”
And most of all, enlist help!
If you fail, give yourself grace
When you succeed, Celebrate!!
2 Relevant and achievable goal suggestions:
1. Eat 6 servings of fruits and vegetables/day
It will shift your diet greatly in the right direction
It is More good stuff, Less bad stuff
2. Spend 10 minutes a day focusing on something good that happened, some blessing that you’ve had, something good that you did or was done for you, or a pleasant sensation that you’ve had. Live in the feeling, celebrate, rejoice!
We are overwhelmingly faced with negatives, and have a bias toward the negative view. This affects our health and our satisfaction with life. Learning to enhance and magnify the positives begins to hardwire our brains for success and happiness.