Keeping your New Year’s resolutions

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Since we are in the midst of the Yuletide holidays, we will digress from our usual commentary on politics and business. Instead, we will dwell on the favorite pastime of many folks during this time of the year – making a New Year’s resolution. And why not? The new year signals a new start. It’s the best time to take stock of where we are, what we have done and what we ought to do.

But while making a New Year’s resolution seems rather straightforward, keeping it is a whole different story. Many folks consider a New Year’s resolution simply as a promise to one’s self, a sort of vow to do things differently next time around. The problem with that idea is that it demeans New Year’s resolutions as a frivolous and childish exercise.

We should bear in mind that the word “resolution” is synonymous with purpose, tenacity and resolve. It agrees with perseverance, firmness of purpose, an unwavering doggedness in our decision to change. It is not simply a promise meant to be broken anytime we feel like it. It requires grit and willpower, and a kind of strength that makes for good character.

In short, if you don’t have the mettle and guts to see your promise through, why make a resolution in the first place?

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Believe it or not, there are some rules on how to keep one’s New Year’s resolution. But before I go through them, let’s be clear about one thing: it is important to fulfill a New Year’s resolution.

Why? First, it helps to build self-confidence. Breaking a promise or breaking one’s word causes willpower to quickly dissolve. Fulfilling a promise, therefore, engenders the opposite: more fortitude and strength of purpose. Knowing that you actually accomplished what you set out (and promised) will definitely reinvigorate your mind, body and spirit.

We know most New Year’s resolutions end up biting the dust. That’s the downside. Often, our attempts at change are hastily made, sans any practical consideration. It is, however, not impossible to achieve one’s New Year’s resolution.

Remember, if you want to make changes in your life, it is important to realize that you need to give it some pace – P.A. C. E. You have to be Practical, Accurate, Considerate and Ecstatic.

Be Practical. In simpler terms, BE REALISTIC. Don’t make resolutions that force you to reach for heaven or compel you to move mountains. If you can’t stop cold turkey, try smoking fewer sticks than you’re used to in a day. Instead of buying a box of donuts, now that you’re overweight, try just buying three, then two, then one. Never fool yourself into thinking that you can do it when you can’t and you won’t. Promise yourself a resolution that is within reach. It will keep you from giving up too easily.

Be Accurate. Know that you want to accomplish in detail. Don’t give yourself general resolutions like “I will be a good employee next year.” Give yourself very specific things to change. Consider this: “I will, starting January 2015, wake up earlier than usual so I can arrive in the office on time.” Pinpointing definite and identifiable snags can help you zero in on the problem. By doing this, you can change things one step at a time.

Be Considerate. Know your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Be considerate of who and what you are for once. Do not carry by way of New Year’s resolutions any more weight on your shoulders than necessary. Give yourself some wiggle room and breathing space. Change that happens overnight are often brittle in nature and quality.

Be Ecstatic. The possibility of change is reason enough to be ecstatic. You must display some interest, a level of eagerness in order for you to fulfill your resolutions. This is not the time to be troubled, sad or negative about it. Ordinarily, people will dissuade you from doing the resolutions by saying, “Change is something you don’t want.” “You won’t be able to accomplish it.” Or, “It’s too unrealistic.” Don’t listen to them. Leave these people to their own admissions of guilt and weaknesses. One step at a time; that’s your cue.

Change, they say, is the only constant in this world. We agree. While change may be unwelcome at times, it is necessary if we are to evolve as a person. Every step you take is a change in direction. Just make sure you keep each step always within reach.

Here’s wishing you all a happy, safe and prosperous New Year!

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