Tips for New-Year Resolutions

Tips for New-Year Resolutions

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

First tip: If you don't intend to keep them, don't make them.

Second tip: If the attraction of status quo is greater than that of a change, don't make the resolution.

Psychologist John Norcross of the University of Scranton found that 25 percent of all resolutions fail within the first week.

The intention to do better is human. To resist change is also human. So, we make resolutions on birthdays, anniversaries and at New Year's, but fail as soon as we begin. Why repeat the annual ritual of resolution and subsequent failure? Why indulge in false hope, which might end up weakening your will power further?

Do you make a change only when there is an external pressure or threat or are you guided by your own inspirations? Make a resolution only when there is a strong force to back up your resolution. Some would change only when their doctor or their spouse gave them an "ultimatum."

Utilize whatever works for you. But, please make a resolution only when you are really ready for a change. Be accurate in assessing your readiness. Don't con yourself by such superficial reasoning, "Of course I want it, who wouldn't?"

Here is my suggestion for a New Year's resolution that anyone can achieve: "Make a 10% improvement in your attitude."

That's it! I don't suggest that you make a big sacrifice or quit a vice you love. I am not asking you to get up one hour earlier, exercise for X amount of time, lose X amount of weight, quit smoking or drinking. You don't even have to lift a finger. Simply, resolve to increase a positive attitude or trait of your choice by ten percent.

Such a plan of action is all in the mind. You don't have to change anything in the outer world. You don't need to worry about the outcomes of your efforts or the availability of certain circumstances or conditions. Simply change a little in regard to your feeling, thinking or outlook.

If you are in agreement so far, let's go to work. How about the feeling of happiness? On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is "extremely unhappy" and 10 "extremely happy," how happy do you usually feel?

Say, your answer is 7, which by the way is average for American adults according to the Fordyce Survey. Resolve right this minute to feel more like an 8 than a 7 on the happiness scale. Feel like an 8, talk like an 8, sing and hum like an 8 and you got it. Stick with it. Stay there most of the time. If something brings you down, go right back as soon as you can.

Here is another way to progress towards happiness. What percentage of the time do you feel happy? Say, you feel happy 50% of the time (the American average). Make up you mind to start feeling happy 60% of the time. When you say to yourself, "I am going to feel 10% more happy," and mean it, nothing can stop you.

Every morning, remember your resolution to be happy just 10% more than the last year. At the end of the day, assess the percentage of the time you were actually happy. If you fall short one day, determine to do better next day or even make up for the previous day.

Perhaps, you might like a resolution to increase the level of your personal satisfaction. How satisfied are you with yourself and your life on a scale of 0 to 10? Remember you are not trying to change anything about your life. You are simply increasing your level of satisfaction with yourself and your status in life "as is." What areas of your life do you feel good about? Is it your job, relationships, social life, education, intelligence, money or your faith?

Focus on the aspect with which you feel satisfied and you can easily increase your overall satisfaction by 10% just by sharpening your focus.

How about a resolution for a 10% increase in the attitude of gratitude? On the scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is "no gratitude" and 10 "extreme gratitude," what's your level of gratitude at present? Make every day as the Thanksgiving Day, remembering things, people, circumstances and events you are thankful for.

A 10% increase in any of the three goals, can instantly change the quality of life for you.

I stated earlier that it's all in the mind and you don't have to change a thing in the outer world. The fact is that when you change something about who you are, many things in the outer world will change for you.

Return to Self Help 

Copyright 2002, Mind Publications 
Posted November 2002


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