Shayne on You: Make your resolutions reflect a positive attitude

Dear Maggie,

I donít know what good New Yearís Resolutions do anyone! I seem to make the same ones every year, and every year I break them all. Iíve already blown it and itís only the first week of 2010. If thereís a way to make this work, I havenít found it. Have you?


Resolved to Fail

Dear Resolved,

You, my friend, are a self-fulfilling prophecy. You stated your main problem in your own signature. Resolve to Fail. Youíve already decided you wonít succeed, and by doing so, have made it your own success impossible.

You say you havenít found the way to make resolutions work, but it sounds like youíve only tried one way. Making them, breaking them, and giving up until next year. If you keep doing things the same way, how can you expect the results to be different?

So try approaching your resolutions in a new way. Instead of listing the things you want to exclude in the new year, or the things you wish to stop doing, or the habits you want to break, try tipping that upside down and listing the things you want to include, things you want to do more of, and habits youíd like to make. I blogged about this on New Yearís Eve. You get what you focus on, so if your focus is on things you donít want, youíre sabatoging yourself from the start.

Second, get over the notion that youíre going to be 100% every day. Some days, you just arenít going to be at your best. Youíre going to indulge in those old habits and neglect the new ones. But every single day is a brand new opportunity. Do you know how many times most people quit smoking before they succeed, for example? Most have to quit and quit and quit again, doing a little better, getting a little stronger, lasting a little longer each time, until eventually, they succeed.

So instead of resolving to practice your new habits every single day, try telling yourself that this year, you will do the things you want to do more often than not. And far more often than you indulge in the habits you no longer want to keep.

Remember, what you are really doing with New Yearís Resolutions, is setting goals that you give yourself a whole year to attain. You are visualizing the person you want to be by yearís end, and beginning the process of growing, expanding, and becoming that person over a twelve month period. Itís not instant. But it is possible. And in fact, all of us are constantly growing and changing, but many seem to keep changing into the same thing.

Change the input, and youíll change the output. You can begin by telling yourself that this time, you will succeed, and follow that, by insisting that you keep trying every day this year, and donít let yourself use one dayís screw up as an excuse to toss the whole plan. There are 365 days in the year, not one or two or seven. When you fall down, do you just lie there and say, ďWell, I guess itís over.Ē No. You get back up. If you donít make it, you keep trying until you do.

Now, restate those goals tonight with a positive attidue, and then wake up tomorrow, and start all over again. Keep doing that every day, and I guarantee you, by next year, you wonít have to make the same resolutions again, because they will be accomplished. You will, however, have a whole new, possibly even more challenging list, because once you get a handle on this, youíll start having fun with it, and pushing yourself farther and farther.

Happy New Year!


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