Everyone loves to hate New Year’s resolutions. The general line is that they are made to be broken. Yet people do succeed in adopting new and better habits in life, and there’s no reason that can’t happen in January.
For me, there are a few good habits I’ve succeeded in keeping over the years. I’ve been trying to think through why they’ve stuck.
I’m pretty good about exercising. I go through ups and downs on frequency and intensity. But most weeks I exercise multiple times. This is because I generally enjoy it and feel better afterwards. Internal motivation! It also works with my life because I work at home and don’t have to deal with the logistics of doing it in the AM, or being sweaty at work. More days than not it becomes my afternoon break.
Over this past year, I believe I’ve significantly increased my consumption of vegetables. I’ve made a point of buying big Costco-sized bags of them, and then having that frugal part of me that doesn’t want stuff to go to waste kick in. Also, there’s a good social network effect going on here. I eat lunch with my kids and sitter most days, and she eats an amazing volume of vegetables. It’s setting the standard. I look for ways to mix in frozen Costco veggies with soups and other things. I like colorful foods and they’re tasting better to me. Olive oil and salt helps. So this looks like it’s going to stick.
I wrote a draft of my novel this year. I worked with an accountability partner until the internal motivation of having a coherent story I wanted to tell kicked in.
And then there’s this blog. I’m writing here close to daily, but there’s good feedback. I love comments! It’s not hard to stick with blogging when you have such wonderful readers!
For this year, I think I’ll set a few New Year’s goals. I want to get together with friends and have more fun in life, generally. And I also want to be better about not taking on assignments that aren’t going to advance my career in the direction I want. Since those resolutions point in the direction of less work and more play they should be doable!
I’m writing a post for Fast Company in which I’ll do short profiles of a few people who’ve kept New Year’s resolutions. What made it work for you? If you’d be up for being included, please email me: lvanderkam at yahoo dot com.
11 thoughts on “Looking to profile a few people who’ve kept New Year’s resolutions”
My new year’s resolutions never stuck before, because I was too ambitious. Habits are best changed one at a time. Now I set a resolution at the beginning of each new journal (which is more like every 8-10 months), and keep it to like a single word. “Energy” is my current goal. I’m trying to examine what energizes me mentally/emotionally, and how to support a high energy level through physical/social means (exercise, alone/quiet time, food, fellowship). It’s taking me in quite a different direction than if I simply said “exercise 3 hours per week, min 3 times a week” by encompassing the whole person.
I kept 2 out of 3 of my main ones and do feel that one and 2 were the reason I couldn’t keep 3. A good friend of mine says instead of making lists of things you are going to do, just make a list of things you are not going to do. To me this is the best working mother advice I’ve gotten. The idea that you can add and add to your plate without taking things off is not reasonable or productive so more articles about what you won’t do and why would be more helpful. Resolutions of Not This Year . Etc. as we tend to think of resolutions as things we will do …
I think my resolution last year was to survive this year. And I’m still here!!! Win!
Honestly, I can’t remember to resolve to do much of anything…. I guess that probably means I am a resolution failure. Ah well. Maybe I need to just pick easier ones?
@oldmdgirl – easy resolutions work. Sometimes the sense of motivation from accomplishing something — even a small something — is enough to compel us onward…
I need very specific goals, i.e. go to the gym Tuesdays and thursdays from 6-7pm instead of exercise more.
I remember achieving 2 New Year Goals and in both cases, I had made only 1 goal that year. The more resolutions I make, the more I tend to forget and lose focus.
@oilandgarlic – you’re on to something. Taking on too much at once is a recipe for failure. Better to try to quit smoking one year and succeed and then, say, lose weight, than try to do both at once. Succeeding at two big things at the end of 2 years is much better than succeeding at neither at the end of 1.
I have had significant success with resolutions. The year I was 20, I quit smoking. I was already a pack-a-day smoker and did not want to be smoking in my 40s, as my mother was. Haven’t smoked since. That had a dramatic impact on my life, because no longer smoking meant I wanted to be outdoors more (I never liked smoking outside), and that led to hiking, backpacking, and other outdoor activities I had never touched before. A year later on New Year’s Day I started running, and I turned from a couch potato to an adult-onset fitness lover.
Not all years do I make resolutions– I’m pretty goal-oriented anyway.
A few years ago, my mom agreed to stop smoking if I lost 50 pounds. I was more concerned about her health than mine. Vice versa for her. I lost the 50 (and more), so she stopped her habit. It was a win for both of us.
@jd – I love this story. Congrats to both you and your mom!!
@jd – this is wonderful. Using the power of worrying about someone else for good!
This is *awesome*! Congratulations jd!