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New Year's Resolutions - How to Make Them Stick

Updated on December 28, 2008

New Year, Old Plan

Well, you have your dancing shoes on, the tickets are in your pocket and you've made a visit to the bank machine to get extra money. One last mental check that you have everything and you are ready to leave for the New Year's Eve party. While driving there, you go over your answers to that age old question - what is your New Year's Resolution?

Two days ago you decided your New Year's resolution might be to lose ten pounds or finally take that class you have been talking about for years. No problem.

Maybe this time, you will actually carry through. Yeah, sure. You might just swing it this time.

New Year's Resolution Products

Make Those Resolutions Sticky

It is possible to make resolutions and stick to them.  While there are no guarantees, the following suggestions may help:

  • Say, "I will" instead of, "I will try."  Goals should be something that you really want to change.  If your decision to quit smoking isn't all that important to you, then you will lack the drive and determination to see it through.
  • Use the buddy system.  Get together with a trusted friend for support.  Each of you lay out the details of your resolution and what kind of help you would like from each other.  For example, make arrangements to call your resolutions partner for sympathy and strength when the urge to eat starts threatening your goals of losing weight.
  • Make a contract with yourself.  The bargain should be in a positive vein, perhaps a reward upon completion of your goal.  If you are working on sticking to your budget, buy yourself something (without depleting all the money you've saved) that you have been denying yourself.  It does not have to be large, just something that is a reminder of your success.  Every time you look at it, you will get a boost.
  •  Use as many reminders as you feel necessary.  Put a sign on the refrigerator, your desk, the dashboard of your car.  Mark your projected completion date very clearly and noticeably on the calendar - "SPARE ROOM FINISHED - CELEBRATE!"
  • It takes approximately twenty-one repetitions to create (or break) a habit.  Count down as you go - only 15 more breaks without coffee, only 10 more days of clearing off your desk properly every night before you go home.  This will give you a light at the end of the tunnerl; short lived rather than something that has to be endured over an endless period of time.
  • Make a game of it will small rewards along the way.  If you have lost the first five of the twenty pound you are resolved to lose, go to the show to catch that movie you thought sounded good.  A really effective method is to complete with someone.  If you and Joe or Josephine Blow have both set your sights on increasing your sales quota, you can make a game of beating your cohort.  When the other person decides to make a 10% increase by March the first, you aim at going 15% higher by February twenty-eighth.  When you have accomplished your goal, the game is complete.

Regardless of your resolutions, you can make them stick with the glue of desire and determination.  You can do it!

Happy New Year!

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    • Shirley Anderson profile image
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      Shirley Anderson 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Winsome, that's cute, I haven't heard that before.

      I think a ton of people experience making the same resolution every year. Too bad, I'm sure it doesn't help a person feel successful.

      Thank-you for coming by and for the chuckle.

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 7 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Ever get the old deja-vu feeling about this time? I mean, even the word resolve is re- solve...as if we solved it once and have to do it again. I like the old joke: I lost 100 lbs last year---the same five pounds twenty times. :) Thanks for the tips.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Hi ArtSiren, thx for dropping by! I hope this hub can be of some help for any resolutions that you make this year.

      Happy New Year!

    • ArtSiren profile image

      ArtSiren 8 years ago from England

      Hi Shirley! Great hub. I couldn't agree more about using the 'buddy system' for helping to keep New Year's Resolutions, and in fact ALL sorts of goal-setting. And I particularly like the 21-repetition rule you included here also. Thanks for that reminder!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I'm with you, Christoph. It's impossible to break a promise you don't make, especially to yourself. I agree re a resolutions being a motivating factor IF you are really ready to do something. I think it helps push an existing determination.

      Re Calvin and Hobbes, I like that one, too, though I seldom see it anymore. That is the angriest (and most candid) little boy! He has issues, just like real people. Probably why he's so popular.

      Thanks for hubliment and for commenting!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 8 years ago from St. Louis

      I always keep my resolutions. That's because I always resolve not to make any resolutions. Well, sometimes I do. I find it's best if it's not the hardest thing in the world--quitting smoking, for example--unless you are really and truly ready to quit. Resolutions can provide the extra push to accomplish something, however.

      I was very happy to see Calvin and Hobbes! I stopped reading cartoons in the paper when Waterson quit publishing his daily. I recently just started getting them on my iGoogle desktop every morning. I'm really happy about it!

      Great hub!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      poorQpine, it will be interesting to see if your method work pretty than more traditional ones. You may be on to a winner, here. Next year, we may all be eating glue. :)

    • poorQpine profile image

      poorQpine 9 years ago from USA

      You are so right. Half the achievement is in taking the action to begin with.

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Umm, yeah, I think so, PoorQpine. At least, I hope so. The thought hadn't crossed my mind, but I hope you enjoy. Hey, if it works it really doesn't matter how you make them stick, does it?

    • poorQpine profile image

      poorQpine 9 years ago from USA

      I prefer to eat the glue stuff. It is a rodent thing I guess!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Em - Breaking it down into manageable bits is a great idea, thanks for sharing that. I think it increases your chance of success and makes it less daunting. Just ignore the forecast for the last six months. :)

      Thanks for coming by, Em!

    • Em Writes profile image

      Em Writes 9 years ago from Upstate NY

      This is a great, timely hub, Shirley!

      I have found that playing with semantics when making the resolution helps, too. Instead of saying, "I will lose 30 lbs. by July 1," say, "I will lose 5 lbs. each month for the first six months of the year." It seems a little more manageable that way. (Never mind that for the last six months of the year I'll gain back 40 lbs...):D

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      PoorQpine - you've very lucky only needing tape. Some of us (me) need crazy glue. :)

    • poorQpine profile image

      poorQpine 9 years ago from USA

      Got TAPE? me, poorQpine

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      lol, I'm sooo curious!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      In fact, you will know if i have broken it! I will mail you my resolution!

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Oh, I can't wait! What? What?

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      lol @ above two comments!!>

      Yeah, i know loop holes have been my best friends!!

      I have just decided on a new years resolution!! I will keep u posted!!:D

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Michelle, are you confused? Hehe. I don't know what you're talking about, either, but I know you can do it! :)

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hi Shirley, I will do it! I'm going to do it! I am doing it! What the heck am I talking about it? God only knows...teehee Great tips :)

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Perfect, CS. I think you've found a loophole!

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      Thanks, Shirley I will need it!!

      The only resolution i have kept is "not to give up making new ones if i break old ones:)

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      LOL....I will....you, too! If hubaholics can't support each other, who can?

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      keep hubbing......

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      You're welcome. :)

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      thanks for the comments

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Now, now, Lgali - your hubaholism is showing!

    • Lgali profile image

      Lgali 9 years ago

      my resolutions not to write in hubpages---Just joking

    • Shirley Anderson profile image
      Author

      Shirley Anderson 9 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Haha, good luck, CS. Many, including myself, can't even remember what the resolutions were once New Year's day hits.

    • compu-smart profile image

      Compu-Smart 9 years ago from London UK

      Shirley, This is a great hub and perfect timing with some excellent tips which I hope will help me stick to resolutions i make permnatly! or for at least much longer than my previous resolutions last:D!