We all realize that achieving our New Year’s resolutions can be crucial in defining our self-image. And really, who needs this kind of pressure?
We all realize that achieving our New Year’s resolutions can be crucial in defining our self-image.
And really, who needs this kind of pressure?
For after all, perception is reality, particularly when it comes to deluding ourselves. Do you want to perceive yourself as the person who failed in his or her New Year’s resolution at 12:15 a.m. on Jan. 1?
Or would you rather see yourself as the person whose resolution made it the distance in 2012, barring the Mayans being correct about that whole end-of-the-world thing?
Well, all right then. Here’s the rule when it comes to formulating a winning resolution:
The importance of being vague when it comes to making New Year’s resolutions cannot be overstated. Pinning yourself down on achieving specific goals is a blueprint for coming up short. Here are some examples of the wrong and right ways to set that resolution bar real close to the ground.
Wrong: I will lose 20 pounds this year.
Right: I will endeavor to reduce caloric intake to the best of my abilities this year, knowing full well that I’ve always been big-boned.
Wrong: I will train to run in this year’s marathon.
Right: I will run somewhere this year, if I get the chance.
Wrong: I will learn a new language this year.
Right: I will learn something new this year, or at least will be able to retain something from last year I already knew.
Wrong: I will eat five servings of fruits/vegetables each day this year.
Right: I will eat fruits/vegetables this year or something with fruits/vegetables as ingredients or something with fruits/vegetables in the name.
Wrong: I will read one new book a week this year.
Right: I will read every week this year, unless I can’t for some reason.
Wrong: I will donate 20 hours per month to helping others this year.
Right: If someone asks me for directions this year, I will help them if I’m not too pressed for time.
Wrong: I will save $50 per week this year.
Right: I won’t buy scratch tickets this year unless I’m feeling kind of lucky.
Armed with these simple examples, you should be well on your way toward maybe, sort of, and in a way, meeting those pesky New Year’s resolutions in the coming year.
And if you don’t, there’s always next year.
Unless the Mayans are right about that whole end-of-the-world thing.
Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England’s Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.