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New Year Resolutions 

By George Mofor

Are you starting to contemplate your New Year resolutions? Or have you resolved never to make a New Year resolution again? If the latter, you’re not alone. Many people get demoralized when, year after year, they make resolutions that they keep for only a few weeks.

Why is this? After all, we all have the best intentions, and the timing (New Year, new start) couldn’t be better. A key problem lies in the fact that we place a huge amount of pressure on ourselves. During the last week of December and the first week of January, it can seem that all one hears is, "What are your New Year’s resolutions?" "What are you going to work on this year?"

And the focus is on the "what" not the "how." When you are more concerned with the goal you set than on the specifics of how you are going to accomplish it, this can quickly lead to failure. So, if you resolve to set successful New Year resolutions, read on. Let’s focus on how, so that this year, you can set yourself up to achieve them!

New Year Resolution Mistakes

There are two common mistakes that people tend to make when they start to make their New Year resolutions: They think about what they "should" do, rather than what they really want to do. And worse, they think about what they should stop doing, rather than what they actually want to achieve. "What should I do this year?" "What should I stop doing?", "What do other people suggest I should work on?"

To be successful at any change, you need to really want it. Unless you take the time to think about what it is that you really want (rather than what you should do or should stop doing), you will invariably end up making resolutions that you are not fully committed to. Without commitment, you aren’t motivated. After the first setbacks or obstacles, you’ll probably quit. So the first rule of New Year Resolutions is to only make resolutions that you can commit to – don’t make them because it is "the thing to do", or because someone has told you that you should.

The irony of it is that New Year’s resolutions have the potential to be very powerful, because making them is such a well recognized practice. Everyone knows that everyone else is setting resolutions. And what a great mutual support network that can provide! This external motivation and support, along with your internal motivation – your desire to succeed – is what can make the difference between success and failure.

(Inspired by James Manktleow, Editor of Mindtools)
 

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