02 Jan 2019

A New Year’s Resolution my buddies and I always sign up for – a better golf game in the coming year. 

In the Y2K New Years Eve, bets were being taken on whether our historical data-life with our friend, the computer, would crash to a halt. My wife and I looked at each other – darned if we were not turning 61 in 2001. What would the next decade bring to us? Then in 2010, we looked at what the 2010-2020 decade would bring.   Let me be the first to advise you that we are just one year away from 2020 and the goodies and challenges that will present themselves in the next decade.

So I find now that I have had about 70 “conscious” years to make a resolution and keep it. Before age 10, what the heck! After age 10 pressures began to come that demanded some kind of a thoughtful effort to do better at school, my chores, being on time to church, getting up on time, etc. I seemed like every year there was a need to improve something. I have found that actually resolutions to improve, change, modify or alter an unhealthy attitude, habit, action, or goal(s) does not have to be made just at the beginning of a new year, even though this is the general point at which the effort is magnified. It is a daunting task we take on in making and attempting to keep a resolution. For assistance, we might turn to God or your higher power belief, to friend or family or, if needed for that serious weakness, to professional help. For seniors, this can even be more difficult at times.

Ok, we have made that resolution to improve whatever – let’s suppose it is to increase our exercise routine (one of the most common resolutions). It is tough to alter behaviors and attitudes that have been entrenched for some time. Moreover, our surroundings and environment; whether family, friends, or stressful situations, can work against our keeping to the resolution. It is so easy to rationalize not getting out because it is too cold, hot, rained earlier, or even that other bit of paperwork I did not do last night.

The means to keeping our resolution calls for a plan and efforts that identify some of the various alternative courses that can be addressed for varying problems. In my research, I have identified some of the better courses of action which include:

  • Asking family, friends, and co-workers to act as a support base to assist you in your resolution effort. Communicating that request and asking for their buy-in is a very important aspect for obtaining the support needed.
  • Listing the many factors that can be a problem preventing you from keeping the resolution. After identifying these factors, come up with a realistic counter measure that you might utilize toward achieving that treasured goal. It might be as simple as a telephone call to that friend to talk you through it.
  • If you do go off the wagon, analyze the various whys, whens, and whats for any actions and changes to develop counter measures or even, if possible, deleting that thing, atmosphere, or person while you are working on your goal.
  • As part of the process, you should not forget to ask yourself whether continuing the unhealthy action, attitude or behavior is because you are trying to just please someone else. Also, it may be beneficial to look at how you came to identify that resolution need. It is not easy, but addressing this cause factor is so important that outside help may be needed. Generally, it can be determined that an alternative effort or action can be instituted, or even concluding that the reason no longer is worth the effort.
  • Take some time to document (usually just on paper) how you are doing and what things happened on that day that hindered you or aided you in furthering your goal. Identify what you could have done different and how it might be applied in the future. The effort to write makes us think in an organized way, and to create a record to access at a later time.
  • Do not beat yourself up for back-steps but use them to re-energize yourself to keep the resolution. Success many times comes incrementally in little steps, spurts, and even may include some back-steps.
  • Find new rewards to recognize success. If the goal was to loose weight, do not reward yourself with a big piece of cake but maybe a short visit to a movie, the local art museum, or getting your nails done.

Talking with priests, ministers, rabbis, and other religious leaders reflects that this is one of their most difficult areas to address, not so much because it is difficult in itself, but because of the numerous factors outside the person that works toward failure. While these individuals direct their work toward the greatest goal, they also readily admitted they also face difficult times themselves in achieving their resolutions.

So it is time again to get brave and make that resolution that you have been dodging for some time. It might not be easy, but with the help of some of the suggestions in this article you can succeed.

And, Happy New Year!