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A New Look at New Year Resolutions

by Colleen P Moyne (Colmo) (follow)
I'm a freelance writer living in the beautiful river town of Mannum in SA, dreaming of the day I can retire from the 9-5 to write full time.
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Yes, I know this topic has been done to death but I thought I might pass on my own experience and how I eventually overcame the ‘resolution disillusion’.

I’ve been keeping a personal journal since my fortieth birthday, and throughout the year I jot bits and pieces in there – usually when something life changing happens or I’m struggling with a decision about something – and on every New Year’s Eve I have also written down my New Year resolutions. I would start by reviewing the previous year's broken ones and finish by re-making pretty much the same ones again for the coming year – only worded differently.

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But something finally hit home to me on this last New Year’s Eve.

I found myself going back to the very first entry in the very first journal and reading all the way up to the present. And when you condense seventeen years’ worth of resolutions made and resolutions broken into one two-hour sitting it makes one thing really clear - Resolutions not only don’t work for me, but they really don’t matter in the grand scheme of a full life.

Fingers Crossed
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I’ve been making the same promises to myself over and over; a promise to be smarter with my money, to get on top of my household chores, and – you guessed it – to lose weight – and not one of these promises came to fruition in the course of the coming year. But do you know what? It hasn't mattered a bit.

What I've come to realise is that a gradual shift has been taking place all this time. Very subtle, but quite obvious when seventeen years are fast-forwarded in one afternoon.

Just Be Happy
Image courtesy of geekchicdjs

I’m no better at managing my money, but I've always been able to pay the bills and live within my means, and over time my work situation has improved which has led to a better income. My housekeeping – or lack thereof - doesn't define who I am. It has never stopped friends and family from visiting and feeling welcome, and quite the contrary, they tell me how much they enjoy visiting my house.

And as for my weight? Well, it’s still there – and then some – but again, this hasn't stopped me from living a full and happy life. I eat a healthier and more balanced diet and have learned to manage stress, I have good overall health, a great job, a loving family and friends who like being with me. What more could I want – seriously?

So for the first time in seventeen years, I gave up writing New Year resolutions. If anything, I have resolved to never write them again and to keep on living the happy and fulfilled life I always have. The worst thing you can do is to set yourself up for failure and to continue reminding yourself every year of diminished willpower and broken promises.

Just Be Happy
Image courtesy of wikimedia commons

If you really want to achieve something important in your life (for example – giving up smoking), don’t make a January First resolution to give it up there and then. Instead, write a ‘to do’ list for the coming year and include things like:

• Send away for a Quit kit.
• Talk to your doctor about nicotine patches
• Calculate how much smoking costs you each year and start a savings plan.

It’s much easier to list small steps and tick them off as you do them than to try to make a monumental change overnight.

Come New Year’s Eve next year, even if you haven’t managed to quit yet, you can pat yourself on the back for all the ticks. Every positive step, however small will eventually get you to where you’re going, and by focusing only on the forward steps you've taken, you will have the confidence to add more to your ‘to do’ list next year.

Happy New Year and good luck!

#Positive Thinking
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What a lovely idea this is! I've set some Resolutions, and posted them of a few of my (too many) blogs. My resolutions are mostly all about things I've been enjoying in 2014, and want to do more of in 2015, but do it better. I don't have to cut what I love to eat, or anything like that, I just have to do more of the things I love to do, or do more exercise, which will help to keep me able to do the things I live doing!

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