With the start of yet another new year just around the corner, many people are thinking about new year's resolutions. Each person who is in the habit of making resolutions has their own approach to the process. Do you make resolutions at the start of each year? Do you find yourself making the same resolutions each year and then breaking them?
One of my favourite movies is Bridget Jones's Diary. Bridget starts her year making resolutions to lose weight, give up smoking, cut down on her alcohol intake and find a sensible boyfriend. A number of these resolutions will feature on the lists of many people as they look ahead to 2016.
Some people find they are more likely to achieve their goals if they are specific about them. If they are trying to lose weight, they find it helpful to state how much and by when. This approach doesn't work for others who then find they feel depressed when they 'fail' to reach their goal. It is possible this will lead to overeating and a worsening of the situation. (Maybe they didn't need to lose weight in the first place.)
There are those who find it works better for them to aim at just eating more healthily. They may decide to follow the 80/20 rule of eating healthily for 80% of the time and relaxing the rules for the other 20%. They may not set a number of kilograms to lose.
Some plan to generally increase the amount of exercise they do rather than state they will walk/run/follow an exercise regime for a particular amount of time four times a week or whatever. Others need specific goals and feel satisfaction in achieving them.
There are people who, like Bridget Jones, decide to keep track of their progress in a diary. Others choose to fill in checklists or draw a graph. A graph can be a useful visual record for weight loss. These things don't work for everyone and can in fact act to discourage those who see records as making the task more difficult.
It can be helpful to find a friend to talk to about new year's resolutions. I spend time chatting about my resolutions and goals with one of my friends. We acknowledge some of the goals on our lists are works in progress and so we are aiming to move ahead rather than expecting to fully achieve them in the space of a single year.
Over time I have changed my approach from being specific to more general. Also I am now more realistic about what I can achieve and don't set myself up to fail. Currently my goals are more about trying new activities and not trying to be everything to everyone.
New Year's Resolutions work for some but not for others. Perhaps you like the idea of resolutions but prefer to make them at a quieter time of the year. There are different ways to approach making resolutions and if the way you have been doing it doesn't seem to work, well change how you do it. Alternatively, see how 2016 goes without making these resolutions at all. You may feel a burden has been lifted and that may work better for you.