Originally published in Our Sunday Visitor on December 26, 2012, I have updated these subversive “secret weapons” to help your 2014 New Year’s resolutions actually stick this time… You’re welcome. 😉
New Year’s Resolutions: A Perennial Problem
Dieting and weight loss are perennial favorites when it comes to New Year’s resolutions, in large part because they’re so hard to keep and so we end up making the same resolution year after year. Maybe 2014 will be different.
Here’s a targeted plan that might help you as we rush headlong into 2014:
1. Think Small
One of the major reasons we tend to fail our resolutions is that we try to take on too much. Be realistic. Instead of resolving to lose 30 pounds, resolve to lose 10. Then reassess. Instead of resolving to gather all members of the family together for dinner every night, try for three or four nights a week. Small steps help build confidence and momentum.
2. Go Slow
Trying to accomplish our resolutions too quickly can set us up for failure. But if we go slowly, we can make a major transformation that sticks.
You can’t go from couch potato to triathlete overnight. Start by walking in the morning or evening. After walking for a week or two (and starting to establish a new habit), you can step it up to a jog.
3. Make a Plan
Why are you making a particular resolution? What’s the reason behind it? We need to think through the “why” of our resolutions if we want them to stick. We need to make a plan. We need to know the why, the what and the how.
4. Write It Down
I can’t stress this one enough. I’m sure there’s really not any magic to writing it down. But, in my experience, and in what I have read from others, the effect of writing it down is like magic. Make a plan. Write it down. And keep it where you can see it. Often.
5. Call for Backup
You’ve seen those intense cop TV dramas. What do officers do when there’s even a chance that something can go wrong? They call for backup. And so should we. Having an “accountability partner” for our resolutions can help us push through in times of temptation and times of discouragement.
6. Be Ready to Forgive
Failure happens. If we are not prepared to pick ourselves up and move on when we fall, we won’t get far with our resolutions, or in life. If we fail in our resolutions, there’s no need to throw in the towel. Let’s just pick ourselves up, forgive ourselves and try again.
We can’t do anything without God. We need the grace of God to make any changes in our lives. Start and finish each day with prayer. If we do, we will be surprised at how much has changed when we look back on 2014.