5 Ways To Keep New Year’s Resolutions

While I will admit to being a perpetual evader of New Year’s Resolutions, I will also own my year-long aspirations to eradicate vices. Here are some steps I’ve found that help with this will-power workout, and why we are afraid to change.

  • Understand Why: Take a moment of introspection and nail down what exactly you fear. Often times, this exercise exposes an irrational fear that is unlikely to transpire. As the Bible says, Fear is the surrender of Help that comes from Reason. (Wisdom 17:12-21) The number one fear Americans have is fear of failure. What happens when you fail? You fail. Done. Move on, learn what you did wrong, and try again. Maybe fail again. Learn more, and try again. One day, you WILL succeed.

  • Set realistic goals: I stopped partaking of the trend of New Year’s Resolutions when my already-sensitive high school self found herself failing miserably on day three and opting for bed instead of a pre-class run. Instead of skipping a day, or amending the schedule, I quit altogether. To my INFJ “all-or-nothing” mentality, if I couldn’t do the regimen perfectly it wasn’t worth doing at all. I gave in to the fear that I wouldn’t deserve the feeling of accomplishment if the challenge wasn’t extreme, but the plan backfired and I was wallowing in an unnecessary pity and esteem abuse that could have been prevented if I had made baby-steps. Don’t be afraid to start small.

  • Do one thing every day that scares you: My favorite leading lady, Madame Eleanor Roosevelt, said this as something to consider when your nerves are getting the best of you. In my experience, the degree of “scariness” and thus the level of challenge varies daily, so don’t worry about having to start a small non-profit on Monday and then learn to cook on Tuesday. It’s more about establishing a habit of courage and intentionally pushing yourself outside your comfort zone. Practice on small things like reading aloud or speaking aloud, and one day you’ll be acting! In every decision, be purposeful about raising the bar.

  • Comparison is the Thief of Joy: Here’s another jewel of Eleanor’s wisdom, and a quote I often need to remember. It is a fact that observations are based on perception. Take the classic optimist and pessimist who will be exposed to the same situation and they will have differing opinions. Make sure your perceptions are as realistic as possible, and understand that even then you will be seeing what you want to see. The mind can sometimes be a cruel companion and harbored insecurities will manifest in jealous observations, and ultimately steal your joy.

  • Ask for accountability. This is not a sign of weakness, or a roadmap for failure. While being extremely humbling, asking for help is a proven way of growing stronger. Think about how we teach young children: Guidance and affirmation. Who’s to say you don’t need a cheerleader to help with your discipline? Asking for help takes an enormous amount of courage, and you deserve to be celebrated as your grow into a better version of yourself!