According to The Los Angeles Times here is the way to make a resolution you can keep. Make sure your resolution is at least theoretically possible and the outcome is at least theoretically in your control. Meaning, don’t resolve to lose 50 pounds by tomorrow or to win $50 million in the lottery.
Specificity is better than generality. Resolving to be a better person is a noble goal, of course. But what exactly is “a better person”? Someone who reads more books? Wastes less time? Gives more money to charity? Uses fewer plastic bags?
Avoid extremes and absolutes. If you resolve that never ever again in this lifetime will you eat the tiniest little tidbit of chocolate, then — besides raising serious doubts about your sanity — your resolution is setting yourself up to fail with just one nibble.
Only make a resolution if you’re strongly motivated to keep it. A 2007 article in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Compass describes how any behavior change involves a competition between conflicting motivations. Suppose you love to sleep in late on Saturday mornings but you resolve to start getting up early instead, to practice juggling. Since your motivation to keep sleeping is pretty big, your motivation to juggle had better be humongous, or you’re likely to drop the ball very soon. (You’d be better off picking a time of day when otherwise you’d be doing chores, washing the dishes, cleaning the litter box…)
It is interesting that one the best ways to keep a New Year’s resolution is to just do it. Dr. O’Toole encourages his patients to take advantage of some of the best available surgery dates in January and February for procedures like liposuction and breast augmentation. These procedures are excellent at giving women the beach ready body many desire for the 2011 summer season.
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