New year’s resolutions – resolved!

New Year's Resolutions - Resolved

I love the idea of New Year’s Resolutions. It’s about a new year, a fresh start, and trying to improve your life. But in practice, my resolutions rarely last long under the pressure of big changes and high expectations. Instead of making resolutions this year, let’s reflect on some of the positive changes we’ve made in our lives.

The best advice I know about making resolutions is that your goals should be Specific, Achievable, and Measurable (SAM). But sometimes resolutions work best when you trick yourself into it, when you don’t make a big deal about it – you just start doing it.

When we’re setting goals, it helps to remember our successes. My most successful “resolutions” were not made at the start of a new year. I didn’t write them down or tell people about them, which are two really effective ways to change your habits. They involved small choices and humble goals.

Here are three quiet resolutions that had positive impacts on my life.

Nail-biting — resolved. I used to bite my fingernails when I was a kid. I knew it was a bad habit, and I didn’t like it. Not only that, it gives other people a bad impression about you. So I started painting my nails with clear nail polish, because nail polish tastes bad and no one should eat it. And it worked. Beyond just stopping one bad habit, it gave me the confidence to tackle other bad habits as well.

Self-depreciation – resolved (mostly). I have a hard time accepting compliments. I used to down-play compliments and even point out flaws or mistakes. But after I joined a pottery club, I noticed that when I admired someone’s art, they would simply respond, “Thank you.” I decided that I needed to change how I respond to compliments too. I am re-learning how to say “Thank you.” I still have a hard time accepting praise, but I think I’m a little more gracious about accepting them.

Speeding – resolved. I was mortified and chagrined when I got a speeding ticket one year. That ticket made me change the way I drive. I learned to slow down. I started to leave a big enough gap between the car in front of me that I can let other drivers into the lane. Driving has become less stressful, even when I am stuck in traffic. I wish I could thank that police officer, but I’d probably be too embarrassed.

Do you make and keep New Year’s Resolutions? What resolutions or positive changes have you made in your life?

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