January 5, 2011
… and my No 1 New Year’s resolution is to keep my New Year’s resolutions …

When the year ends, the thing that petrifies me the most is not the fact that, yet again, I get older, or that I have to stay dancing all night in uncomfortable shoes - nooo, the most dreadful thing is that I expect myself to make New Year's resolutions. What's more, I then become hopeful that I can make them last... After a month or so I end up disappointed, because I was too busy/too tired/too unprepared/too uninterested* (*choose one) to keep them.

For instance, last year I promised myself to return to yoga. Well, yes, I managed to Google two yoga schools in my neighbourhood and tell my husband every two weeks or so that I would definitely start it next week. I also convinced my family we can organise 'family house cleaning' once a week. We all love our cleaning lady now. And yes, I also decided I was going to write a weekly column. I am very proud to deliver one a month. There you go....

So what is the best solution to deal with the New Year's resolution drama? Well, here are some ideas I came up with to soothe my torn soul.

  1. It's always exciting to make (it gives you hope for a better life next year) and keep (it really can help to make your life better) your annual resolutions, so don't deny yourself the right to try.
  2. Increase your chances for success by setting small and attainable goals, i.e. 'I'll drink one coffee less', not 'I won't drink coffee' or 'I'll save GBP 20 per week', not 'I won't spend that much'.
  3. Make sure that the resolutions you make are truly within your reach, i.e. be certain that you don't resolve to buy a jet next year unless you really potentially could afford it with a bit of an effort on your part.
  4. Make a number of resolutions, but tell yourself in advance that you are allowed to choose just a few of them depending on the circumstances. That way you'll give yourself the right to stick to the ones that are doable and/or most wanted by you.
  5. Invite someone to join you in keeping your resolutions whenever possible, or make them together. If you decide to run every morning, take up a new hobby or eat healthy, doing it with a partner or a friend may make it more fun.
  6. Choose some resolutions that are enjoyable to you, not just pure punishment, i.e. 'I'll have more "me" time next year', not only 'I'll clean the kitchen more often'. This way you'll be more motivated to keep the resolution and be more satisfied, because you did something that was a treat to you.
  7. Support the process of keeping resolutions by giving yourself small treats for achieving certain steps or meeting set deadlines.  If you promised yourself to clean the house every week and you managed to stick to it, give yourself a little bonus - buy yourself a small gift or treat yourself to an hour of doing nothing!

And if none of the above seems to help in keeping New Year's resolutions, just make up some good excuse why you definitely couldn't keep this year's promises, so you won't end up feeling guilty the whole next year! Happy New Year!

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