Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Making New Year’s Resolutions and then proceeding to break said New Year’s Resolutions seems to be an annual event for Americans and many others around the world. One survey of over 100,000 people in 16 countries found that 98.7% made one or more resolutions and only a shameful yet darkly humorous 3.1% actually kept them.

Aside by making fodder for bad stand-up comics, this embarrassing statistic begs the question; why do people still do this. A common definition for insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well this one almost answers itself. No one is completely happy with himself, and so we want naturally want to improve. The New Year symbolizes a new beginning (although really it really represents nothing more than passing go with out the $200 of course), therefore it’s a chance to start anew more literally. To fix those problems we all know that we have.

Well unfortunately, people rarely change and never change easily. Alcoholics don’t just stop drinking, fat people don’t just lose weight, hippies don’t just start making something of themselves, it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. A simple resolution will provide nothing more than a week or two of motivation.

Any serious attempt to improve requires time, goals and dedication. The best way I’ve found to do this is to create a plan. Compliment that plan with a schedule and goals and then meticulously keep track of your progress. For example, I looked to get back into shape so I created a work out plan. Then I created a schedule with goals for bench press, weight and run time. And so for I’ve had great results.

Now obviously this is no guarantee, but a plan and a schedule can help focus your effort unlike some vague resolution. In addition to the plan, involving a friend or at least telling people what you’re trying to do helps keep yourself accountable. You can really start this at any time, so the New Year might as well be it. But given the statistics, I wouldn’t call your goal a resolution.

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