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A resolution to keep resolutions

A New Year toast
A New Year toast
Microsoft Office

Now that Christmas has come and gone, most of us are gearing up for 2010 and turning our attention to New Year’s resolutions.

According to some of the top resolutions made each New Year are to lose weight/get in shape, manage debt, get a better job/education, drink less, quit smoking, reduce stress and to help others. All positive things. But unfortunately for most of us, even the resolutions intended for good tend to fizzle out soon after they are begun.

What is it about the New Year that makes us want to change? What began as an ancient Roman tradition has since turned into a way to feel better about all the eggnog you consumed over the holidays. Or throughout the year.

But besides feeling guilty about the extra holiday calories you consumed, people also feel refreshed at the start of a new year, especially when there is social pressure and support about starting on the right foot. When people around you are making similar goals and resolutions, it’s easier to make them your own. And no matter what the real reason for self-improvement, the fact that society becomes self-reflective around each New Year can be a positive thing.

So how do we make these resolutions last past January? In order to make resolutions realistic, it is probably best to make them before you have had a glass or two of champagne on New Year’s Eve. Because let’s face it, a lot of New Year resolutions are simple party talk and not a real effort to make changes.

Planning ahead, like in most things, can help you stay true to your goals. It helps one to commit when you have thought through your needs for change and how you will go about the necessary steps. Make goals you can handle and that are not overly vague. And keeping a good attitude and not putting yourself and others down for slip-ups will contribute to keeping resolutions. Even when we fail, there is still value in making an effort.

So, with only 3 more days until 2010, it’s time to get on the ball. So when the other ball drops at midnight, you have planned ahead and made concrete (and reachable) goals. And while you're at it, add the resolution to keep your resolutions to your list.