I’m one of those old-fashioned guys who still writes out a list of New Year’s resolutions. I think it’s good to have a clear plan and to write it down. I make sure to keep the list short so as to enable focus. Long lists tend to dissipate intent.
I’m of two minds as to whether or not to reveal my resolutions to friends and family. On the one hand, telling them means they might hold me to follow through on my promise. On the other hand, telling them can give me the false sense of already being successful. I tend to err on the side of not revealing my resolutions to everyone. The only person who has seen the list is my boyfriend.
“The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life.”–Leo Tolstoy
I think the Tolstoy quote has much merit. We don’t change because of some article on the Internet or because an authority figure says we should. At least, in my personal experience, I haven’t made a major life change without my sense of right and wrong urging the change. After I’ve finally admitted the dire need to alter my behavior, I write it down as my resolution.
I cannot over-stress the importance of writing out a resolution. For instance, back in 1987 I resolved to quit smoking cigarettes. That was the only resolution for that year. On a sheet of nice paper, I neatly printed that I will quit smoking. Beneath that statement, I printed, in outline form, the steps I planned to take. After reading the list aloud to myself, I signed the document, put it in a frame, and hung it on the wall near my desk.
The framed document was a daily reminder and inspiration to follow the outlined steps. Naturally, there was some backsliding and the temptation to disregard my vow. Through grit and crankiness, I did manage to stop smoking. I’ve never had the desire to light up again.
In my opinion, it’s very important to muster up the courage to objectively and compassionately admit to one’s faults. This is the first step in seriously planning a resolution. The admission of the fault and the written-out resolution together make serious fuel to follow through the promise to completion. The desire must be strong and sincere or else any efforts will be futile.
“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.”–Abraham Lincoln
The Lincoln quote reveals the core of every sincere, resolute vow. After all, why resolve to do something if you put forth half-hearted effort? This oft-quoted proverb is true: If you want something bad enough, go out and fight for it.
The Blue Jay of Happiness likes an idea from former Swedish Prime Minister, Hans Göran Persson. “Let our New Year’s resolution be this: we will be there for one another as fellow members of humanity, in the finest sense of the word.”