Keeping your Resolutions
How are you doing on keeping your resolutions for the new year so far? Still going strong? Or maybe you’ve already fallen behind a bit.
If you’re one of those who met the dawn of 2023 with optimism that maybe hasn’t panned out the way you’d like, fear not – we’ve been doing it since the ancient days of the Babylonians.
Until the late 19th century and early 20th century, our resolutions reflected a society yearning to look inward and live a moral and religious life – “a desire to develop stronger moral character, a stronger work ethic, and more restraint in the face of earthly pleasures,” according to a December 2021 article from The Farmers Almanac on almanac.com.
Even over the more than 100 years that have transpired, many of our most important resolutions have remained tethered to morality issues such as, “I will visit my elderly parents more,” or “I will be a better, more responsive friend.” Even more familiar (and just as difficult to maintain) are the resolutions around physicality – improving our diet and exercising regularly.
You might find it interesting to know that our resolutions or today aren’t that much different than they were 75 years ago. The 2021 Farmers Almanac article compared the results of two Gallup polls conducted three-quarters of a century apart. Those polls found that, while our priorities have changed, the same resolutions do appear in the top 10 list of our areas for improvement. Take a look for yourself:
Resolutions from 1947 – Gallup Poll
- Improve my disposition, be more understanding, control my temper
- Improve my character, live a better life
- Stop smoking, smoke less
- Save more money
- Stop drinking, drink less
- Be more religious, go to church more often
- Be more efficient, do a better job
- Take better care of my health
- Take a greater part in home life
- Lose (or gain) weight
Today’s resolutions – Gallup Poll
- Lose weight
- Get organized
- Spend less, save more
- Enjoy life to the fullest
- Stay fit and healthy
- Learn something exciting
- Quit smoking
- Help others fulfill their dreams
- Fall in love
- Spend more time with family
According to an ABC poll conducted late last year, a supermajority of us – 80 percent – will abandon our resolution by the end of February.
Set S.M.A.R.T Goals
Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be. The fine folks at ABC offer several tips on how to achieve those goals you set for yourself. First, set goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART). Secondly, determine why you want to achieve your goal. Find an accountability partner – someone on whom you can rely to keep you on track as you make progress, or even someone who shares your goal for 2023. Finally, get your end-of-year check-ups depending on whether your goal is physical (your general-practice physician/dentist) or mental/emotional (your therapist). I would add my own recommendation to this short list, too. Keep a diary or journal of your progress as the days, weeks and months pass. Written documentation of successes or failures in sticking to resolutions can be a powerful motivator indeed.
It’s all sound advice on how to ensure you end this year as a better, healthier version of yourself – a person for whom broken promises will soon be ancient history.