Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Secrets of a Successful New Year's Resolution

A new year demands a new attitude. Not sure why January 1st dictates that more than any other day. A friend and I were discussing that very thing the other day. Why do we automatically make January the time for change? Why not any other day?

I think it's partially because change is in the air. Everyone's talking about New Year's resolutions. Everyone's making the decision to make a change: diet, get in shape, improve on life, become a better person. There's a feeling of optimism around every corner. Why shouldn't we pick up on that and go with the flow? Seems a natural response.

That's not to say that individually we don't try to make changes on February 13th, July 4th, or October 19th. It's just that as a New Year begins, a decision to change seems universal. Everybody's talking about it.

I know I want 2009 to be more than 2008 was. I want to be a better person, wife, friend, mother, writer. Okay, it might also be my age. I'm closing in on the same age my dad was the last time I saw him. I'm be kidding myself if I said it doesn't matter to me that I'm about to see the world through the same years of experience. It does. I'm now more aware of his state of mind. I was looking at the world through 30-year-old eyes, now I'm looking at life as his peer. Although it doesn't discount the fact that no matter how many chronological years go by, he'll still be my dad.

But, all that aside, in order to succeed and make a New Year's resolution work, I need determination and drive. After all "RESOLUTION" means promise, decision, plan and commitment. I've made a lot of resolutions over the year that failed. And I'm not alone. To fail means to weaken, to lose courage, to give up, to falter, to be consumed by guilt.

To succeed can be acquainted to winning the lottery.

To succeed at change means I seek out the techniques and devices for change. I implemented the tools and perform the actions necessary to succeed. To lose weight, I exercise and diet. But more importantly, I decide exercising and dieting is enjoyable, thus making their implementation an easy addition to my life.

For more years than I can count, experts have been questioning why people fail at New Year's resolutions. The answers make sense. My resolutions failed because my attitude didn't change or adjust. I let past failures speak for me. I let outside influences take over. I failed to change my environment to match my resolution. The list goes on and on. I didn't set up my life for success.

This year I decided to abandon New Year's resolutions in favour of contentment. I'm not looking so far ahead. I'm concentrating on the moment. If today I eat sensibly, incorporate activity into my day, avoid situations that are going to make me feel guilty later, (no chocolate cake, cookies, chips or ice-cream in my space), and not focus on how I'll look by April but instead how I'll feel in the next five minutes, maybe my changes will become natural.

2008 is over. Finished. Worrying about marketing put a major strain on my health, attitude and well-being. I made publishing my novel an obligation to everyone but myself. I had it in my mind that unless I did everything possible to promote my book, there was something major wrong with me. If I didn't work 18 hours a day promoting Dead Witness, then I obviously didn't believe in myself or my work. I had no faith.

What resulted was a nervous wreck worrying about book touring in the worst winter in BC since the 70s. Imagines of traveling over icy roads, fighting blizzards and snow storms -- replaced the act of appreciating the accomplishment and joy of publishing a novel, a novel that I believed in. I failed to trust that Word-of-Mouth would echo reader sentiments.

Today is the 4th day of a brand new year. If you've made a New Year's resolution that you believe is vital to your health and well-being, use everything at your disposal to succeed. Research, change your world and incorporate the tools necessary to win. You know what those changes are. Don't accept anything but success. Don't expect anything but success. And remember, you made this year's resolution because you deserve the outcome.

That's what I'm going to do. And if the secret lies in convincing you while I convince myself, so be it.


  1. I sometimes think the desire for change must equate to "the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" syndrome. Dissatisfaction with the status quo makes us jump at the opportunity for a fresh start, so a new year seems like the ideal time.

    Whatever the reason or timing, taking steps towards improving ourselves and our lives is always worthwhile. If the goals are important enough a positive attitude will go a long way to help us reach them. It sounds like you're on the right track. "One day at a time!"

  2. I've tried worrying things right, but that didn't work. lol I figured it was time to make good on my attitude.

    Thanks for dropping by, Careann.


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