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how to choose a new year's resolution

Updated on December 14, 2008

Developing good habits for healthy living

Well, the new year is right around the corner. Many people will be considering making positive changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight, and making other changes that will impact their life for the better. As you consider what resolutions you will make, consider these suggestions for choosing a habit to change.

When we make a new year's resolution we have really good intentions on keeping it. We start out really well, but most of us eventually crash and burn. However, it is entirely possible to make and keep a resolution for the coming year. Consider these important principles when making a resolution for the new year.

1. Consider your life as a whole

Often when making a resolution we get too focused on one area without considering our whole life. As humans we are not fragmented pieces of humanity that have been put together. We are a whole person. Each area of our life effects all the other areas. So, when making a change in one area consider how it will effect all the other areas. As humans we have a spiritual, mental, emotional, social, and physical side to us. Often when we have a problem in one area it is due to a problem in another area.

For example, if you are very over weight and are considering losing weight you might consider if there is an emotional problem leading to over eating or lack of exercise. Is there a past hurt that you have failed to deal with that causes you to turn to food for comfort? Yes, you may lose the weight and look good on the outside, but if the emotional pain is not dealt with then you will still feel bad on the inside.

So, consider what changes need to be made to make you better as a whole, then you will be on your way to making and successfully keeping a good new year's resolution.

Prioritizing your resolutions

Do I have any deadly habits?

Do I have any habits that are hurting or ruining any relationship?

What areas of change are worth the time and energy right now?

In the big picture, is this change that important?

What are others saying that I need to change?

In making this particular change, is it the real problem or is there a deeper problem that needs dealt with first?

2. Consider your priorities

When deciding on a resolution you need to figure out what really needs changed in your life. We all have many flaws, but we cannot possibly change them all. While we all wish that we were perfect, we have to face the reality that we are not. So, you need to decide what changes need to be made first. Is there a habit that you have that could kill you? That will definitely need attention. Is there a habit that can ruin a relationship? Make that a priority.

Consider what really needs attention, then make that the habit you focus on changing in the new year.

3. Ask someone you trust

A third step to take in deciding what resolution to make for the new year is to simply ask those closest to you what changes they think you need to make. Be open and make it so that they feel they can be totally honest. Often, we can see flaws in others easier than we can see flaws in ourselves. So, getting another person's perspective goes a long way in discovering the real changes we need to make.

4. Be realistic

When considering habits that you want to change, be realistic. Don't make too many changes. One or two areas to work on is enough. Once you have successfully changed in those areas, then you can work on other areas that need your attention.

Also, don't expect to change overnight. It has taken awhile for you to develop a bad habit, so realize that it will take time to create a new, healthy habit in it's place.

5. Don't just stop a bad habit, develop a new, positive one

Often we can get too focused on stopping a bad habit or getting rid of a particular weakness. However, you will never successfully rid yourself of a weakness unless you replace it with a new habit. For example, if you decide to quit smoking, you will need to develop good habits to replace it. So, instead of just quitting smoking you might want to start exercising and eating well.

6. Accountability

I can't stress enough the value of accountability. We all are good at justifying ourselves. We can begin to slip back into the old habit and justify doing so. If you really want to make a change in the new year, you will need a trusted friend to 'hold your feet to the fire'. This is someone who is not afraid to be honest and remind you of your resolution when you slip. They also will praise you when you keep the resolution. To keep the resolution the entire year find someone to keep you accountable.

Have you been successful at keeping a new year's resolution?

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Possible resolutions to consider

Following are some suggestions of resolutions you could make for the new year:

Spend more time with your family

Eat healthy

Exercise

Listen more, offer your opinion less

Laugh a little more, stress a little less

Stop and smell the roses every day

Connect with the people in your life

Keep your career in it's proper perspective

Heal broken relationships

Be more thankful

Remember the poor all year long

Visit a nursing home once a week

Connect with God more

Do something crazy (but not stupid) just because- live a little

Create positive memories for your children

Love more

These are just a few suggestions, but hopefully they will give you a start in deciding on your own new year's resolution.

Conclusion

After considering these principles on making a new year's resolution, the only thing left is to just go for it. You can do it. You can be successful in making a keeping a resolution. The keys are being determined, making wise choices each day, and having a good support system around you.

May you be truly blessed in the coming year.

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