Chances are good you made at least one resolution for 2013. Last year, I made 12 of them. A year later, I can confidently say that I have kept three and a half of them
and have adopted them as part of my life. (I give myself partial credit for one that I’ve kept some of the time.) Honestly, I made no effort on the other eight.
Whether you kept your resolutions last year or not does not matter. The year is over. It is done. What matters is whether you are where you want to be in your life.
This year I’ve only made one resolution and it’s a resolution that each of us would do well to keep.
A resolution is a promise that we make to ourselves. If a significant friend broke as many important promises to us as we break to ourselves, we’d soon relegate that friend to the acquaintance list. Or, unfriend all together.
It turns out, I’m in very good company when it comes to both making and breaking resolutions. The University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology reports 45 percent of us made New Year’s resolutions. Here are the 10 most common promises we made to ourselves:
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others in their dreams
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family
Promises are like babies:
easy to make,
hard to deliver.
This year, I have only one resolution: to only make changes that suit me, not those that I feel I should make to live up to someone else’s expectations. It is a resolution we would all do well to make and keep.
Making changes in our lives should be viewed as a journey, from where we are now, to where we want to be. I credit my successes in keeping last year’s three-and-a-half resolutions to a trick I learned, and that is to keep my promise for one month only, and at the end of the month, to evaluate whether I want to continue the resolution for another month. The ones I kept for the full month went on to be ones I renewed each month. Today, they are simply part of who I am. (I’m still struggling with that half-kept one!)
This month, I have promised myself to live life in honesty, openness and truth, to the best of my ability, in every interaction, in every manner. I will let you know in early February how the month has gone.
I urge you to only make promises to change in ways that are truly important to you. If it’s important to you to lose weight, then set about cutting calories and increasing your exercise. If it’s not, cross it off the list. If it’s important to spend more time with family, set specific times on your calendar to be with them. If you can’t do that, perhaps the resolution wasn’t really yours to begin with, so cross it off.
It’s easier to keep a resolution when it is specific, and when it is written. So, if you’d like, put one 30-day promise to yourself in the comments below. If you want to share with me in February your experience, I’d be happy to have you be a guest on my blog, or to share your experience myself.
Life Is Honest, Open and True: What promises have you made to yourself for 2013? Would you be better off to cancel some of these promises and focus on just one that you can keep for 30 days with an option to renew?