Choosing Resolutions

New Years Eve 2012
It’s the time of year when people pause to commemorate the months that have passed, when Auld Lang Syne is playing everywhere, and when everyone vows to become better people in the next year. We all know about the tried and true tradition of making – and inevitably breaking – our New Year’s resolutions.

However, if you actually want to keep your resolution in 2013, be it for personal sense of accomplishment, bragging rights, or something in between, here are some tips to keep in mind before choosing your resolutions (and consequently splashing them all over Facebook).

Keep it Simple

Don’t come up with a three page long list of tasks for yourself to remember. Chances are, you’re going to break several of them in the first few minutes without even realizing what you’ve done. Choose one or maybe two good, solid resolutions that you intend to keep, and leave the rest to less permanent endeavors.

And make certain that the resolutions that you do choose aren’t several parts as well. Say “I’m going to stay in shape” as opposed to “I’m going to stop eating fried foods, visit the gym everyday, and be vegetarian” because the second one is really several little resolutions rolled up in one, and that’s not fair to anyone.

Make it Specific

You don’t want to go too general on resolutions you intend to keep, as it gives you more wiggle room and loopholes to form bad habits in your weaker moments. Again, though, there’s a fine line between being specific and being too daunting. You have to set certain goals for yourself while maintaining the simplicity discussed above.

For instance, instead of saying generally “I’m going to be healthier this year” decide how exactly you’re going to achieve it. Such as “I’m going to eat a salad every day” or “I’m going to work out three times a week.” Or, if you insist on being more general in your resolutions, make a plan and stick to it. If you want to be more healthy, outline your exercise routine, when it will occur, what you have to buy to ensure that you eat healthier, and the like.

Don’t Set Yourself Up for Failure

If you can’t live without a BLT sandwich or crispy bacon in the morning, then making a resolution to go vegetarian probably isn’t the best idea for yourself. There’s an entire world between being optimistic and being completely unrealistic.

If it’s something you really want to achieve, then set yourself the goal, no matter how lofty. But otherwise, don’t set yourself up to fail by choosing resolutions you know you’re never going to achieve. If you simply don’t have enough time to go to the gym on top of your full course load, volunteering, and your part time job, then maybe skip the exercise commitment and vow to eat less fried food in the cafeteria. Be realistic, but hopeful. The idea is to stretch yourself into being a better person, but not to completely overwhelm and belittle yourself.

Most Importantly, Believe in Yourself!

The best thing you can do for yourself is to enter 2013 with your head held high and a great attitude in mind. If you decide right from the get go to be irritable and pessimistic about the outcome of your resolution, then chances are high that you won’t achieve success. But if you believe that you can make the goals set down for yourself, you’re going to have an easier time of it.

Write down your resolution somewhere that you’ll be able to see it every day, be it by your desk, or taped to the top of your bunk so it’s the first thing you see when you wake up. This way, you’ll be able to keep in mind what you’re striving for. It helps to have pictures or inspiration for your goal as well. If you’re working on staying in shape, tape a picture of that cute bikini or that perfect dress next to your resolution, to give yourself incentive. Reward yourself for a job well done in constructive ways, and you’ll be on the fast track to resolution success.

Make 2013 your best year yet, and give yourself that confidence boost by being able to say that you accomplished your resolution. With a little hard work, dedication, and a great attitude, you can achieve anything in the year to come, and you know it. Best of luck with your resolutions!