February 23, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Yes, I know, it's a little past the New Year, unless you count the Chinese, which was just a week ago.  But there were some glitches in getting this posted....it took awhile for Mary to get back to me with permission to post, then I just plum forgot about it until going through my emails.  I think it's still a good message to post, because it reminds us of the promises we made for ourselves.  And if we didn't make promises, well, there's no reason why we can't make them now, is there.

This was posted by Mary McCall on Hearts Through History RWA's chapter loop back in December....

How to Keep your New Year's Resolutions

It's close to that time of year when everyone decides to correct every flaw they see in themselves as if wishing were magic and saying they will or won't do something will make it so. That's just not true and we all know it.

Are you determined that this year you'll keep those New Year's Resolutions? If you answered yes, then here are a few goal setting tips to get you started.

#1: Separate Your New Year's Resolutions from Working Goals and Objective. New Year's Resolutions are something you do for you alone. Work may benefit from them, but should not be dependent on them. They should be things that will have an impact on your future personal well-being. Goals and Objectives are things you must do wherein negative consequences could have a profound impact on your future. Do not confuse the two.

Don't Try Everything at Once! There's a temptation, with the New Year, to run off a list of everything we've ever wanted to change. Don't fall for it! You'll have better luck fulfilling one or two goals than you will with a list of fifty. You can always add new resolutions to your list later if you choose. Take one thing at a time. Make the change stick and then move on to something else. None of us are God, nor are we Superman, so we shouldn't try to act like we are.

Word it Carefully. Let's say your resolution is to relax more in the coming year. Word this carefully. Try not to think of it as "This year I am going to relax." That's a stress-inducer waiting to happen. It forces you into thinking of the resolution as something you must do, not something you want to do. Try to make it sound a little gentler: "This year I'm going to explore different ways of relaxing." It also suggests more of a plan—you'll fulfill the resolution by experimenting with relaxation techniques. The first resolution sounds as if you're going to force yourself to relax by sheer willpower.

Make a Plan. Once you know what your resolution is, try to break it down. Nobody accomplishes anything of significance by trying to do it all at once. This doesn't have to be a complicated plan; just brainstorm enough to give you a place to start. Whenever possible, put a date on your plans. Remember, a goal without a date is a fantasy and you have nothing to shoot for.

For relaxing, you might devise a plan like this:

1) Surf the Internet to find different relaxation techniques the end of January (how about March).

2) Make a list of all the techniques that interest you by mid February (mid-April).

3) Pick one of these techniques—meditation, progressive relaxation or self-hypnosis, for instance—and try one for a month. Identify and date which techniques you will try which months.

4) Try a different technique every month until you find one you like.

5) If you meet your goal, celebrate!!! You have no idea how big an accomplishment meeting a New Year's Resolution is! For most people they are words mumbled over champagne and lost in the wind. If you've accomplished your resolution, shout it to wind and celebrate. You deserve it.

Write it Down. Write down your resolution and your plan of action. Stick it up on the fridge, in your locker, wherever you know you'll see it. That way you'll have a constant reminder of the resolution. You may want to change the wording as time passes and your goal changes.

Who Invented New Year's Resolutions?

Okay, now to answer the questions we all really want to know: Who's to blame for New Year's resolutions, and do they have an e-mail address or blog so we can flame them?

Well, we're out of luck on the address, but it looks as if the tradition is as old as New Year's celebrations. The Babylonians celebrated New Years Day over four thousand years ago, although their celebration was in March rather than in January, coinciding with the spring planting of crops.

So if you must break your resolution, break it with pride! You'll be continuing a long tradition of broken resolutions dating back to the dawn of recorded history! And if you had a false start, why you can start again in March, à la Babylonia!

The New Year, no matter when people have celebrated it, has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's time to reflect on the changes we want, or often need, if we're to have the motivation move forward. Resolutions are a reflection of the Babylonians' belief that what a person does on the first day of the New Year will have an effect throughout the entire year. Think about that at the New Year's party!


Thanks for letting me share, Mary!


Redameter said...

Most of the time I don't make new resolutions. However, I have been in a creative mood lately and I have set one that involves my work as a writer. I am determined to keep as close to the goal as I can, even if I don't make it every day. My plan is to write 2,000 words a day.

After all, I'm working on four books at once. If I get tired of one, I can go to another. So 2,000 words a day isn't that bad and strangely I have found that most days I can do this. If I miss a day, I try to make up for it the next day if I can. This way I get things accomplished and eventually all four books will be done within a reasonable time frame.

It is hard to stick to a resolution and easy to find excuses not to, but this is one I am going to work on all year. And maybe if I'm lucky, from now on.

Great article.

Love and blessings

Virginia said...

I useally don't really make resolutions because I don't stick to them. I mean I tell myself I will start eating better, exercise and get healther but I don't stay with it all year! I am working on this right now but I don't think I have lost a pound yet!