Resolutions Require Follow-ups

Vijai P. Sharma, PhD. Clinical Psychologist

Performing the annual ritual of making New Year's resolutions?  If you happen to be a part of that predictability majority, take my advice; Don't make them!.
Don't make them If you don't have a sound plan to follow them up.  What is the point of conceiving if you don't plan to deliver?

Have you analyzed what happened to last year's resolutions?  If you are like the rest of us, perhaps not much happened once the resolutions were made.  Most people start the year with a bang, then start "skipping" and "slipping," and before March arrives, they have forgotten all about them.

Some of our excuses are "I got busy with other things,"  I don't get the time to work on it:"  "I have too much pressure on me."  "Right now too much is going on in my life."  "I don't have the will power," or "I don't have what it takes."

So the net result of this annual ritual is that we start the year by "trying" to be bigger and better, but the process creates negative beliefs about ourselves, and we end up being smaller and weaker.

These suggestions might save you the frustration and help you meet your objectives for the new year.

1.  Consciously decide what type of person you want to become - the person who talks for talking or the person who walks on his talk.  Many people make resolutions without a serious will and commitment behind them.  When they don't deliver on their resolutions, they chastise themselves.  Some come to believe the they don't have the will power or don't have what it takes to succeed.  Such negative beliefs weaken our confidence in ourselves.

2.  If you feel the urge to make a resolution, test your desire by trying to talk yourself out of it.  That way, you won't have to later apologize to yourself or to others.  If you can't take yourself out of it, take the next step.  Write down why you want to do it.  Identify the potential benefits and rewards of your goal.

3.  After analyzing "benefits" analyze "cost."  Estimate the time, effort and money you will need to invest to fulfill your resolution.  Compare the cost and the benefits.  Is it worth it?  If it is, go to the next step.

4.  Put your resolution in writing, in detail.  Everybody sets goal, but only 5 percent write them down in detail.  A study by Harvard University observed that the 5 percent who put down their goals on paper have more money and assets than the 95 percent who don't

5. Specify what you will need to attain that goal, e.g. skills you don't have yet.  Maybe you will have to give up something e.g. smoking for better health or ice cream and pies for weight control.  Perhaps you will have to start doing what you have not been doing e.g. exercise, cooking leaner  meals, making friends who can inspire you for the pursuit of your resolution.  After identifying exactly what you will need, ask yourself.  "Am I ready and willing to do what it takes?"

6.  If you have come this far and still want to go ahead with your resolution, pull out your appointment calendar and enter specific time and days when you will actually do it.  E.g. Monday, 6:30 p.m. for 30 minutes.  No planning is complete until specific appointments are booked.  This is when you "debug" your program.  For example, when you take your calendar out and enter specific times, you may find that you have been doing something else at that time.  This may prompt you to set your priorities.  You may have to give up the other activity in favor of this one, such as cutting down the TV time.

7.  Take some action the very day you make a resolution.  Not only does it get you started right away, but it's also a very effective antidote against procrastination.  Note that many resolutions die without having had the first breath of life:  the first step was never taken.  Take some action, no matter who small, perhaps making a phone call, reading a book on that subject or writing a letter.  The purpose of it is to "break the ice" as early as possible.

8.  Periodically evaluate your progress.  When you make some progress, make sure that you reward yourself in some way, such as a compliment, a pat on your back or a gift as a "token of appreciation' of you.

Two thousand years ago, Aristotle said that human beings are "teleological" (future-seeking) beings.  That we are.  We just have to learn the know-how.


Return to Self Help 

Copyright 1996, Mind Publications 



Click for Dr. Sharma's credentials
Dr. Vijai Sharma
Your Life Coach
By Telephone

Feedback- Let us know how we are doing

Terms and Conditions

Web site designed and maintained by Chanda Taylor