new year&#039;s resolution http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/15273/all en-US 4 Tips for Making Resolutions Stick in the New Year http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4222533261_97e032f908_z.jpg" alt="resolutions" title="resolutions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>New Year&rsquo;s resolutions have become a bit of a cliché, especially when you consider the statistics &mdash; according to a 2002 <a target="_blank" href="http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jclp.1151/abstract">study</a> published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology, only 19% of people who make resolutions are still sticking to them after two years. So what&rsquo;s the point?</p> <p>As much as I cling to the cynical view, I&rsquo;m all for resolutions for one simple reason &mdash; results. Resolutions really work, and I&rsquo;m not just speaking anecdotally. Among the people who make resolutions in a typical year, 46% keep them for at least six months, compared to only 4% of a comparable group of people who wanted to make changes and thought about doing so, but stopped short of actually making that commitment. In other words, the power of a New Year&rsquo;s resolution may not be so much in how you make it or what you resolve to do, but whether you actually make a resolution at all.</p> <p>Pretty cool, huh? There is one snag, though &mdash; most of us don&rsquo;t know what a resolution really is. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless">Why&nbsp;Your Big New Year's Resolutions Are&nbsp;Pointless</a>)</p> <h3>Remember: Resolutions Aren&rsquo;t Goals</h3> <p>Setting a concrete goal to work towards during the year is a valuable exercise. After all, it could be the impetus you need to push you to do something you&rsquo;ve always wanted to do, like run a marathon, travel, or finally start putting some effort into retirement savings. But while many people resolve to do very specific things (losing weight, quitting smoking, and exercising more regularly top the list), those aren&rsquo;t really resolutions.</p> <p>They&rsquo;re goals.</p> <p>What&rsquo;s the difference? Well, a resolution is the act of resolving or determining on a course of action, but the word also implies a sense of firmness of purpose, of being resolute. In other words, while a goal is something that you work on until it is complete, a resolution is better thought of as something that you must <em>live</em>, day in and day out.</p> <p>With that in mind, here are some ways to make better changes in the New Year. And by that I mean changes you&rsquo;ll be able to make continued progress on for years to come.</p> <h3>1. Stop Trying to Make the <em>Right</em> Resolution</h3> <p>When I make resolutions, I often find myself torn between resolving to do something I feel like I should do and choosing a more personal resolution that really resonates with me. Maybe you feel like you should <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-steps-to-weight-loss">lose weight</a>, or your family is bugging you to quit smoking. Those are great goals to set, but if they aren&rsquo;t in line with what you want, I&rsquo;d be willing to bet you won&rsquo;t succeed &mdash; at least not for long.</p> <p>Instead of trying to make the right resolution, focus on making one that&rsquo;s right for you. Try thinking about the things you did that made you feel proud and happy during the year, and the things you regret. Then come up with a resolution that&rsquo;ll help you embrace more of the good and less of the bad. Now that&rsquo;s progress, especially if you continue to do this year in and year out.</p> <h3>2. Do It Every Day</h3> <p>Gretchen Rubin, author of &ldquo;The Happiness Project,&rdquo; often writes about the power of doing something every day, even if it&rsquo;s only for a few moments.</p> <p>&ldquo;If I try to do something four days a week, I spend a lot of time arguing with myself about whether today is the day, or tomorrow, or the next day; did the week start on Sunday or Monday; etc.,&rdquo; she wrote in a 2009 <a target="_blank" href="http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2009/01/your-happiness-project-do-something-every-day/">blog post</a>. &ldquo;The things you do every day take on a certain beauty, and provide a kind of invisible architecture to daily life.&rdquo;</p> <p>An invisible architecture. If you think about your life that way, the things you do every day, the things you resolve to be a priority, the things you get so used to doing that you do them without question, could be considered the very foundation and framework of your life.</p> <p>When it comes to what you do every day, resolve to add things that improve that structure, such as making healthy choices, spending time with your family, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-take-five-minutes-for-yourself">finding time for yourself</a>. We breathe every day, we eat, we sleep. Those are essential. When it comes to the other stuff, there&rsquo;s some wiggle room. Even so, what you choose to fill the rest of the time with should be what matters most to you.</p> <h3>3. Try, but Don't Succeed</h3> <p>A year is a long time, and often, situations we don&rsquo;t anticipate make keeping a resolution difficult. I often find myself basking in the glow of a little time off around Christmas and resolving to be more patient or, perhaps more specifically, less totally impatient. But once I&rsquo;m up against a little more stress and a little less sleep, I sometimes snap under the pressure (and ultimately snap <em>at</em> someone).</p> <p>Change is hard, but if there&rsquo;s anything harder than changing our ways it has to be our failed attempts. Fortunately, a Stanford psychologist has found some evidence that failure is actually a performance enhancer.</p> <p>According to research by <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_Dweck">Carol Dweck</a>, people who saw ability as something that could be developed were able to make huge strides in just about anything they set their minds to, while those who chose to feel helpless about their lack of ability failed to progress. The difference is largely one of perspective. Do you see your resolutions as something you need to complete and check off your list, or as a work in progress that you can continue to perfect over time? I&rsquo;m going with the latter. At least that way, there&rsquo;s hope for me yet.</p> <h3>4. Start Small, Live Large</h3> <p>Maybe you&rsquo;ve resolved to live healthier or be happier, but whatever big ambitions you have in life, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/big-changes-or-small-changes">start small</a>. (After all, if a resolution is something you live every day of your life, you have time!) Start chipping away at your resolution by choosing something you will absolutely be able to achieve. Once you have that down, add something else. This won&rsquo;t deliver the dramatic, ugly-duckling-to-beautiful-swan type transformation we all sort of fantasize about. The thing is, I think we all recognize that most of those fantasies just aren&rsquo;t very realistic. So take little steps toward to your big ambitions. Over time, you will achieve something tangible that you can proud of.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not sure what resolutions I&rsquo;ll make this year, but I&rsquo;m always aiming to live a life that&rsquo;s happier, healthier and more in line with what I believe is important. As a result, I look forward to making a resolution of some sort. When it comes to health and happiness, there is no destination. But when you think about it, that&rsquo;s actually a good thing.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tara-struyk">Tara Struyk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-tips-for-making-resolutions-stick-in-the-new-year">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/21-ways-to-make-a-big-financial-change">21 Ways to Make a Big Financial Change</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-things-that-scare-you">How to Do Things That Scare You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-break-bad-habits">How to Break Bad Habits</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-can-make-a-big-life-change-heres-how">You Can Make a Big Life Change: Here&#039;s How</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless">Why Your Big New Year&#039;s Resolutions Are Pointless</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development acheiving goals good habits new year's resolution Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:36:30 +0000 Tara Struyk 959923 at http://www.wisebread.com Why Your Big New Year's Resolutions Are Pointless http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/running_woman.jpg" alt="Woman running" title="Woman running" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>New Year's Resolutions &mdash; they're dumb. Yeah, I said it. What, you don't think so? You're wrong.</p> <p>Sometimes I think that the idea of a &quot;New Year's Resolution&quot; was invented by the media to have something fluffy to write about during the dead week between December 25 and January 1. It certainly gives authors, radio hosts, and bloggers plenty of fuel for pointless articles about how to make, and keep, a resolution. And yes, while New Year's Resolutions are the fodder for this blog post, I'll have you know that I'm calling for an end to these stupid promises that we make to ourselves on the brink of a new year. May this be the last blog post that anyone ever writes about New Year's Resolutions! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trade-in-new-years-resolutions-for-achieving-life-goals">Trade in New Year's Resolutions for Achieving Life Goals</a>)</p> <p>Why? Because great big New Year's Resolutions are a stupid concept. Choosing a single day to start a major life change isn't logical. That's why New Year's Resolutions don't work, and when you fail to keep them, you feel like a loser. This isn't to say that no one has ever succeeded in keeping a very drastic New Year's resolution, but the vast majority of New Year's Resolutions go unfulfilled. Think about it &mdash; if every person succeeded in losing weight as a part of a New Year's Resolution, we'd be a much thinner society.</p> <p>And of course, there are easier resolutions you can make that will help your life feel a bit more organized &mdash; for a list of useful, doable New Year's Resolutions, see <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-small-new-year-s-resolutions-you-can-start-today">25 Small New Year&rsquo;s Resolutions You Can Start Today</a>.</p> <p>But back to BIG resolutions &mdash; why don't they work? Why do so many of us make, and break, our yearly resolutions to work harder, to quit smoking, to eat healthier, and to save more money?</p> <h2>1. January 1st Is a Terrible Start Date</h2> <p>If we were to pick a day to start making a difference in our lives, January 1st would be among the worst. It's the day we wake up, hung over and or/still sleepy, and have to drag ourselves to the coffee machine or Bloody Mary IV drip. Freshly hydrated, we blink into the cold, uncaring eye of a January morning and try to convince ourselves that <em>today is the day to stop smoking</em>.</p> <p>Just the thought is causing me to crave a cigarette, and I'm not even a smoker.</p> <p>Yes, I understand why January 1st seems like a good day to start anew. After all, it's marks the first day after the end of all holiday partying. No more large meals, no more holiday cookies, no more glasses of champagne...or eggnog, or mulled wine, or Spanish coffee, or wassail, or spiked cider. January 1st may feel like a good time for austerity following a major spending blitz &mdash; it's the purge after the binge.</p> <p>Here's the thing about making a significant lifestyle change &mdash; either you are <em>ready to do it right now</em>, or you aren't. January 1st isn't going to roll around and make it any easier to start going for a daily run. If you can't make smart choices before January 1st, then the chances of beginning a sustainable change on January 1st is slim. What makes it harder is that...</p> <h2>2. Traces of Holiday Cheer Remain</h2> <p>It's not like all the physical remains of the holidays magically disappear at midnight on January 1st.</p> <p>Let's say that you've decided to lose weight in the New Year &mdash; that's what the majority of people choose for their New Year's Resolution. The problem with that particular resolution is that, if you just spent the holidays in a gluttonous glory, your body is now accustomed sweets and sloth. There are still candy canes and boxes of Almond Roca lying around. <em>Fruitcake can keep for decades*</em>. The temptation is still there, and what's worse, your body is now accustomed to enjoying a box of Ferrero Rocher for lunch. And you're going to start denying yourself after all of that? I'm sure your metabolism won't rebel at all.</p> <p>Or what if your New Year's Resolution is to save more money by cutting back on shopping &mdash; but your family gave you a couple dozen gift cards for Hanukkah, and you have trouble leaving Target without dropping a couple hundred dollars? January 1st's arrival doesn't make this any easier. That's especially because...</p> <h2>3. We Expect Too Much</h2> <p>There are people in this world who can simply pick up a new hobby or undertake a big challenge like it's nothing. Take my brother-in-law (please!), who can lounge around smoking cigarettes and eating massive plates of pasta, and then one day, simply run a 10K race for the fun of it...without fainting.</p> <p>Most people are not my brother-in-law. If you are miserably out of shape, making a New Year's Resolution to run a marathon by June isn't just hard, it can be disheartening. If you have medical problems that affect your health, or complicate your ability to partake in physical activity, it can be even tougher.</p> <p>This doesn't mean that you should abandon your desire to be healthier, to run a race, to swim across a lake, to cut back on booze, or to learn to play tennis. What it means is that you can't approach the goal as an &quot;all or nothing&quot; resolution. You can aim high, but you have to occasionally accept that there are some targets that aren't reachable, need modification, or will take more time. There's nothing sillier than wanting to lose 20 pounds and giving up by mid-February because you haven't seen enough of a change. Change takes time, perseverance, and commitment. Without these things...</p> <h2>4. Momentum Dies So Fast</h2> <p>I go to the gym on a fairly** regular basis, but I know to avoid it during the month of January. Why? Because I know that the elliptical machines and free weights will be occupied from dusk to dawn with people who made the New Year's Resolution to &quot;get in shape.&quot; But by February, the gym will be nearly empty again, and I can return and lift weights in relative peace.</p> <p><em>New Year's Resolutions are usually sincere</em> &mdash; people don't say to themselves &quot;I want to take a half-assed stab at being healthy.&quot; People DO want to quit smoking. They DO want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fitness-for-people-who-hate-exercise">be in shape</a>. They DO want to have a baby, and get a better paying job, and save for retirement.</p> <p>But you have to be committed to these goals before the New Year rolls around. In fact, you have to be ready to start making lifestyle changes immediately, even if in modified form. Because while January 1st signifies the start of a new calendar year, actual change starts with YOUR internal clock, and that clock is already ticking.</p> <p><em>*Fortunately, nobody eats fruitcake. Except Canadians. Who may or may not be an actual people.</em><br /> <em>**Every other month or so.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-big-new-years-resolutions-are-pointless">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/get-it-done-how-to-measure-your-goals">Get It Done: How to Measure Your Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-stellar-reasons-to-hire-a-life-coach">3 Stellar Reasons to Hire a Life Coach</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/trade-in-new-years-resolutions-for-achieving-life-goals">Trade in New Year&#039;s Resolutions for Achieving Life Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-proactive-things-you-can-do-right-now">12 Proactive Things You Can Do Right Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/living-the-savvy-life-a-review">Living the Savvy Life: A Review</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Development achieving goals new year's resolution Wed, 28 Dec 2011 11:36:29 +0000 Andrea Karim 839377 at http://www.wisebread.com