Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Have you resolved to stick to your resolutions?

There is a very good chance that many of you reading this today will have made New Year’s resolutions.

And, sadly, I suspect that some of you will have already broken them.

The annual January 1 ritual of resolving to improve our lives is as much a part of the festive holiday as turkey and the countdown to Big Ben. It is thought as many as three-quarters of us will have seriously sat down and thought about the resolutions we should make this year and the vast majority of us will have had every intention of sticking with them.

The statistics for successfully staying with such resolutions are not great, to be honest, but that shouldn’t put people off. And if you’ve already slipped away from your resolution, bear in mind that January 1 is only one day of the year and you can resolve to put your life back on track at any time.

The reason perhaps most people do fail with their resolutions is because they are, perhaps inevitably, quite negative and unrealistic.

If you’ve resolved to give up chocolate for example but you’re an ardent choccie-lover, then I fear that such a resolution may cause you so much pain it will fall the first time you walk past Hotel Chocolat. And the same goes if you like the odd tipple or two. If you suddenly go all 1920s America and impose a prohibition on yourself it may be doomed to end in a St Valentine’s Day massacre of the drinks cabinet.

The best resolutions are probably not to cut out but to cut down, and so if you resolve to do that then you may have a better chance of success.

Surprisingly perhaps when I did some research about the most popular resolutions although the obvious ones were in there – to quit smoking, to lose weight and to get fit etc – the number one choice was something which all of us can aspire to. It was “to enjoy life more”.

For this resolution to be number one was something of a shock to me but it does make you realise that a lot of us feel we’re not living the life we should and although it is quite hard to define the success of this particular resolution, to have it as a goal is something which I’m sure we can all relate to.

Personally I’m actually one of the 25 per cent of people this year who didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions  - mainly I think because I’ve had too many ill-fated 12 month gym memberships start in January to make me realise I should think about the timing of these things more.

However, I do know of lots of people who have set themselves New Year goals and aims and I wish them all well because if they do manage to achieve them, then they will actually go towards succeeding in that “enjoy life more” ambition too.

Of course, the cynics may say there is no point in doing any of this and may even subscribe to the quote I heard once that “a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year – and out the other”.

But for one week at least, let’s try not to share such cynicism. Let’s all, instead, resolve to support those with resolutions and if we, or others, can’t sustain or maintain the more tricky ones we have set ourselves, let’s at least try and just enjoy life that little bit more.

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