Revamp Your Resolutions

Funny New YearsEvery New Year, just under 50% of us make a resolution, and let’s face it, most of us fail at them.  Why is that?  Of course part of the problem is that fact that there is no way that an arbitrary calendar date, even if it is the new year, can possibly mark the right time for 50% of the population to make a change in their lives, but even more important:  our resolutions suck.  They’re often generic, vague and frankly uninspiring.

So I’ve used this list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 from StatisticBrain.com, published by the University of Scranton.  It’s safe to assume that the list would be pretty much the same for 2013 because, let’s face it, we fail at the same resolutions every year.  Now it’s time to revamp those resolutions to hopefully make them more successful.

1. Lose Weight

Seriously people?  We live in a culture where people will drink maple syrup water spiked with cayenne to lose a couple of pounds.  You gotta do a little better with your resolution than “I want to lose weight.”  Pick a specific goal and focus on that.  I learned that last year and successfully lost my holiday chub by vowing to avoid sweets for the month of January.  That was specific and it worked.  Get specific!  Work out 4 days per week!  Eat cookies only 1 time per week!  If you don’t lock onto a specific goal, it’ll never work, and you’ll have to live with the holiday love handles until you make your resolution next year.

2. Getting Organized

If you’re not organized enough to have a more specific list of what you need to organized, just move on, it’s hopeless.

3. Spend Less, Save More

Pick something specific.  Do you buy too many coffees?  Two years ago, I realized that I was buying too many 20 oz. diet sodas.  It sounds crazy, but cutting back on those $2 here and there made a significant difference.  Or, if focusing on how many lattes you buy a week is just frustrating, then pick something specific to save for, and pick a goal number.  Last year, I chose to save for a trip to London, and you know what?  I didn’t miss many of those sodas or dinners out or drinks at the bar when I thought about strolling past Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.  Pick specific things to cut back on and save for, it’ll make this one a lot easier.

4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Okay, seriously, what does this even mean?  Please stop getting your resolutions off of fortune cookies.

5. Staying Fit and Healthy

See #1.  Actually read it twice because this goal is even vaguer and more annoying than that one.

6. Learn Something Exciting

I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you have something specific that is your “something exciting,” but no, that’s not enough.  Get more specific.  Want to learn an instrument?  Resolve to learn to read music or to play one of your favorite songs.  Want to learn a new language?  Make it your goal to have a 10-minute conversation with a native speaker.  It’s impossible to learn everything about anything in a year, and resolving to do so will only make you frustrated enough to give up on it.

7. Quit Smoking

Really?  People in 2012 still had this resolution?  I hope we’re doing better in 2013.  Smoking is bad for you!  I haven’t had any experience quitting smoking, but as with any bad habit, it helps if you replace the habit with something else, so try to replace your smoke breaks with another activity.  Perhaps a walk, a phone call, or even a solid 10 minutes of your favorite iPhone game.  Whatever can give you the stress relief or social aspect of smoking without the lung cancer.

8. Help Others

This one is pretty admirable, but even while it makes me feel guilty, I still have to criticize it as vague.  Find a charity that you’re passionate about and resolve to volunteer once a month.  It can even help with your other resolutions.  If you find other ways to spend your time, you won’t have time to snack on cookies, spend unnecessary money or even smoke.  Plus it’ll probably help with that irritating resolution #4.

9. Fall in Love

Remember that movie where the shy but adorable girl made a new year’s resolution to fall in love and by the end of the year she was married to her soul mate?  Yeah, I thought it was cheesy too.  You can’t force love, but you can work on putting yourself in situations where you can meet new people.  See #8!  Make your goal more specific, and also less creepy when you explain to your future mate that your new year’s resolution brought the two of you together.

10. Spend More Time with Family

Life is busy, and we always sacrifice time with the people we love for some reason.  But wanting to spend time with them won’t get you quality time.  Schedule in a monthly dinner or put reminders in your calendar to call them to schedule lunch or a hike.  Resolve to make yourself make time.

Now, using these tips, what’s your revised resolution?  And how are you going to make it a success this time?

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~ by sarahjeanne on January 2, 2013.

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