New Year’s Resolutions: Keep It Simple
“What’s the point of New Year’s resolutions?” a friend asked me over lunch, “and why should the New Year be better than any other time for making new plans?” I disagreed.
I think anytime is a good time to improve your life. So why not the New Year, when such ideas are in the air and on everybody’s mind?
In my experience, those people whose New Year’s resolutions seem to have the most traction keep them simple – and realistic. For example, one client of mine finally decided to downscale her goal to lose 50 pounds, and try to lose just 5 to 10 pounds instead. Another client, a young gay man decided on just one resolution: to remain HIV negative until the next New Year. He could have put many other things on his list of resolutions, but by keeping it simple he established his priority, and is arguably more likely to succeed in that regard because it won’t be lost in the clutter of many other resolutions.
How to Simplify Your Resolutions
Consider picking at least one resolution from each of the following three categories:
- Improve yourself physically or psychologically
- Set a specific goal you wish to accomplish
- Do something good for someone else
When you think of doing something to improve yourself, dozen of ideas may crowd your mind. But keep it simple. Start with one thing—whether that be improving a relationship, quitting a bad habit, or cultivating a good one. Often when you focus on one important behavior, others follow, setting in motion a virtuous cycle.
Most of us have something we want to accomplish, along with an unfortunate tendency to put it off. Again, if you keep your goal realistic, you are more likely to achieve it. It may not be the Great American Novel, or a new scientific discovery, but it should be something that is important to you. And once again, one accomplishment often leads to the next.
Finally, do something good for someone. It could be an elderly relative, a friend in need, some random stranger, or a charity that has captured your imagination. Research shows that doing something good for someone else helps you feel good. But that’s not the only reason for doing so. Imagine, if we all did something good, the world would be a better place by next January 1, when it is time once again to look at our new set of resolutions.
If you feel inspired to share your New Year’s resolution(s) with the community you can do so in the comments section below.
Wishing you light and transcendence,