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Day 365 - Resolutions: Yay or Nay?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yes, I CAN!

Seems as though New Year's resolutions are like SlimJims, the dried beef jerky strips: you either love 'em, or you hate 'em.

There was a good article on Spark in favor of resolutions:


And I've seen about an equal number of essays that disparage resolutions.

I know, you can't wait for me to check in with my two cents' worth. My opinion: Yes. Make resolutions. BUT - do them rationally.

Now, some people are put off by the very word 'resolutions.' Maybe it conjures up failures from years past, or the assignment of some English teacher who required you to come up with three then expand on them.

Many of the same people who cavalierly dismiss resolutions will enthusiastically endorse goals, however, which leads me to ask: is there any real difference? Aren't resolutions, and goals, and targets - and aims, challenges, objects - essentially saying the same thing?

My dictionary says a resolution is, among other things, a decision. There's no better time than January first to see the glass as half-full, because there is great motivation to be found in the fresh start / clean slate of a new year.

Set some resolutions along the lines of the Spark article linked above, or try using the 'SMART Goals' technique to come up with resolutions. You remember SMART, the acronym for 'Specific - Measurable - Attainable - Realistic - Timed.'

Your resolutions should be specific, in the sense of giving you some guidelines to follow. It's all well and good to decide you 'will become healthier in 2012.' But give yourself some direction by listing a few ways you can become healthier, such as becoming more fit or losing weight or working to reduce your blood pressure.

Measurable: once you have your specifics in place, you can determine the best ways to measure progress. Remember, if one of your resolutions is to lose weight, the scale may not be the best method to track progress, so give measurable some thought.

And there's no sense in setting yourself goals you cannot achieve. 'Become a perfect size 2' may not be possible, but 'Fitting into my favorite jeans' might be attainable. Only you can decide which resolutions are truly possible for you, and that leads directly on to--

--realistic. Don't set the bar so high you set yourself up for failure. If you've been leading a sedentary lifestyle, is it realistic to state 'I will run a full marathon in six months'? Instead, narrow down your aspirations to a more realistic level. 'I will walk 10,000 steps per day' may be more realistic, and may even help you ultimately achieve a goal beyond the initial resolution.

The fly in the ointment could be 'Timed.' Plenty of advice out there will say not to give yourself a deadline - and plenty of equally valid advice will tell you always to set a deadline. This is where 'realistic' and 'attainable' can be useful elements. Give yourself a target time to aim for - but try to work out what interim steps you need to get to the target date, then work out how long each of those 'mini-goals' might take you.

Sure, you want to be slender, fit, toned, healthy - who doesn't? But the best encouragement and motivation for self-determination can be found in resolutions you set to challenge yourself on your way to improvement.

Spark has another good article entitled 'The Worst New Year's Resolutions You Can Make.'


It will give you help on the pitfalls to avoid when drawing up your own 2012 resolutions.

You know what our old friend Rob Browning said. 'A [person's] reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?' Or as the popular saying goes, 'Always aim for the moon: even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.'

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are! I'm wishing you the best and brightest of new years - carpe annum!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I agree with ANDI. 2012 is going to be a great year! You made it through with a daily blog every day this year! What's on your plate for next year! Happy Happy!
    3351 days ago
    Happy New Year to you!!
    3352 days ago
    Great post. Happy new year!
    3352 days ago
    I resolve to be a better friend, relative and lover. One way is to get healthier so I can be around to be those things! Thanks for another creative blog that makes me THINK!
    Happy New to you!
    3352 days ago
    I never make any but always work on improving me ..So a toast Kasey for many blessings & good health in 2012. emoticon emoticon
    3352 days ago
    That quote "always reach for the moon... is different in swedish and I wonder if that reflects our modest personalities...."If you aim for the stars you might at least reach the tree tops...."

    Thank you for being such an inspiration on spark - you are the main motivator for my 2012 quest!
    3352 days ago
    A great deal of the tradition of New Years resolutions centers around resolving to change something. IMO, part of making this type of resolution rationally is to make it *when* you are ready to change.

    For me, that is rarely on New Years Day. I resolved to do something about my weight on July 10, 2011. I decided to become a runner some time in late August, 2011. I joined a gym for the first time in July, 2005. I did start my first detailed personal budget on January 1, 2008; but that was driven by real changes in my personal finances at the start of 2008, not by the arbitrary date of setting resolutions.

    I'm not making any New Years resolutions this year, because the important stuff I'm trying to change is already a work in progress.
    3352 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5080021
    I think 2012 is going to be a very good year.
    3353 days ago
    Excellent post! I used one of the SP articles in my post today as well! Happy New Year! emoticon
    3353 days ago
    Excellent post. I agree with everything. I think we should,and most of us do have our own versions of resolutions in our goals, as well as in our desires to do certain things. Keeping them realistic and doable is the important factor. It's like what I do in my business: under promise, over deliver. Same idea with my goals for the new year. I set goals I feel are very manageable, and then when I over perform, I'll be thrilled! LOL
    3353 days ago
  • 7356WILMA
    Thank you for sharing!!! Happy New Year!
    3353 days ago
    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Kasey! It's tomorrow where you are, or almost tomorrow! I'll head to bed tonight at my normal time and celebrate the New Year my own way, in the light of a fresh, new morning, too!

    May all your 2012 goals or resolutions be what you need them to be.

    - Barb emoticon emoticon emoticon
    3353 days ago
    Happy New Year!
    3353 days ago
  • MISSLISA1973
    My resolution is to walk/run 1000 miles over the course of the year. I have each month's mileage planned out, gradually increasing over the year as I get stronger. I started training in October! I missed my October and November goals, but I hit my goal of 45 miles for December! It's a little unnerving to announce a goal like this (I'm telling everyone I know and posting it all over SparkPeople and Facebook) that will take all year to accomplish. But what a rush it will be to complete it! And even if I don't quite make it, I know I will get in way more miles than I otherwise would, so I am excited.

    BRING IT ON!!! emoticon
    3353 days ago
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