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How to Write the Best New Year's Resolutions

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by Djuna (subscribe)
I've written about London, Brighton, Horsham, Amsterdam, Bruges and Cologne... now it's time to write about Perth! Visit my Uni Exchange blog at
Published January 13th 2013
How to write the best New Year's Resolutions
New Year's Eve seems to send people into a state of sudden self-reflection:
Have I achieved everything I wanted to achieve this year?"
What should my new year's resolutions be?"
What will the following year bring?"
am I getting old...?"

People love the idea of a new year because it signifies new beginnings, new opportunities and, potentially, the end of old habits. And why not embrace this fairly arbitrary moment in time, if it helps us to make those decisions we might not make during the rest of the year?

From what I've heard, though, the time immediately before and immediately after we tick over from one year into the next is the ONLY time our new year's resolutions get any attention. But this shouldn't be so. For some reason, new year's resolutions (NYR from here on out) end up being a list of wildest dreams, far out desires and over-enthusiastic declarations that will probably last about 2 days. Or, we make to-do lists. My friends, ditch the to-do list. It won't get you anywhere!

travel, new year
Travel is always a popular new year's resolution choice

How to write the best New Year's Resolutions
Have you ever stopped to wonder why, by the end of the year, your NYR are little more than a fond memory? It's probably because you didn't think about WHY you resolved to do these things.Why do you want to go to the gym more? Why do you want to visit your parents in the country more? Why do you want a new job? Why do you want to be skinnier/prettier/more popular? Why do you want to travel the world?

Until you know why you are resolving to do the things you've always wanted to do (or think you've always wanted to do) you probably won't get them done. Why? Because they become tasks and not resolutions. They become actions, and not things that affect your mindset and perspective. And if you want to do these things that much, and haven't, then obviously something about your mindset needs to be changed.

Let's take a common NYR- "I want to go to the gym more." That is an action, it's not really a goal. Your actual goal might be "I want to feel more comfortable in my favourite clothes so that I feel better about myself when I go out." Can you see the difference? By acknowledging why you want to do what you want to do, the actions involved in achieving this become more manageable. Going to the gym "more" could mean anything from once to six times a week, but if you start to think about how you want to feel and why, you can incorporate other little actions into the bigger NYR to help you get stay focused. You might also want to include:

buying a few expensive and flattering items of clothing that you'll make it your goal to fit into.

changing your lifestyle habits to include a walk around the block after dinner (maybe not every night, but when you feel like it. Remember, this NYR has to be tailored to suit you, and that's why it's important to have smaller elements that work together to help with the broader aim).

maybe getting up ten minutes earlier to spend more time getting ready in the morning, so you leave the house feeling content with how you're presenting yourself to the world each day.

joining a casual exercise class that allows you pick and choose when you go, and choosing a realistic number of times to go each month.

So there you have a foolproof way of coming up with NYR that will actually stick. If it helps to write down goals that will help you remember how and why you're doing what you're doing, then make that work for you. Maybe you'd prefer to just see how you go on a week-by-week basis. Whatever you choose, remember that a year isn't THAT long, and think of the satisfaction of persevering with something that might have seemed unachievable.

The important thing to remember is- if it's not happening, you can't want it that much!
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