Forget All the New Year’s Resolutions, BUT ONE

By Dr. Scott E. Rosenthal

Do you stress over New Year’s Eve? There’s the pressure to find the right party, or spend a fortune on fancy clothes, booze and a full dinner spread. And the expectation to make it the BEST night of the year… on cue!

There may be only one thing worse than all the New Year’s hoopla, and that’s the resolutions we make and rarely keep.

You may be thinking, “This year will be different.” Just like The Little Engine That Could, you go charging up that big hill into the coming year with great ambitions. Fueled by your strong proclamations, January hits. Week number one, two, and three zip by. Woohoo, you’re doing it! Chugging even faster, a steady stream of smoke stains the sky marking your success. February hits. Your friends cheer as you cruise by tooting your horn of accomplishment. Impressed, their comments make you push even harder. “You look so much thinner, better, happier…” “You seem so in control, calmer, thinner (yeah, that one again)…”

Then, The Little Engine That Could turns the corner and suddenly, it’s more like an old Western movie where the train is speeding toward a bridge that washed out. As quickly as your locomotive falls to the canyon floor, your New Year’s Resolutions crash and burn.

That gut wrenching feeling of failure ensues and you’re back to your old ways. Not only do you stop doing what you set out to change, but now you do the complete opposite. Thankfully, your friends don’t point out that you now look stressed, out-of-control, and miserable.

I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t resolve to better yourself or your current situation in the New Year. Rather, I am suggesting you do so in a more calculating, realistic way.

Start by listing all of your resolutions. Give each one a rating from one (the least) to five (the greatest) based on the following:

  1. The feeling in your heart
  2. The likelihood that you will do it
  3. The effort involved
  4. The impact on your life
  5. The cost
  6. ____________ (fill in the blank)

Be honest and real. Sleep on it and allow for clarity. Follow your heart and not the judgements or expectations of others. Motivate yourself to do it. Feel a deep sense of deserving it—this is your gift to you! If your resolution changes you in a positive way that benefits loved ones (such as your improved health), do it for them as well. Write it down. Own it. Most importantly, pick just one (maybe two). You can always add the other one(s) on a later date.

If you want even greater success with follow-through, there is a secret you should know. Forget the first of January and START NOW!

By the way, HAPPY NEW YEAR!