Many people make New Year’s resolutions, and many people get frustrated and abandon their New Year’s resolutions.
A common mistake? Setting up the resolution in the wrong way. We think we “should be able to” do it first thing in the morning, or we think we should imitate a resolution that works well for someone else.
But there’s no one, correct way. It’s just whatever works for us.
I know this, because I used to try to indulge moderately in sweets — but I’m an Abstainer. And I used to try to do difficult writing in the afternoon — but I’m a Lark. And I use to hold myself back from buying too much at one time — but I’m an Under-buyer. Etc. Now that I set up resolutions to suit my nature, I succeed much more often.
As you set up your resolutions, be sure to consider these distinctions, as outlined in the “Strategy of Distinctions” in my book Better Than Before, which is all about the multiple strategies we can exploit to change our habits.
Before you decide on the resolution you’ll make, consider…
- Are you a Lark or Owl?
- Are you a Marathoner or Sprinter?
- Are you a Simplicity-lover or Abundance-lover?
- Are you a Finisher or Opener?
- Are you an Abstainer or Moderator?
- Are you an Under-buyer or Over-buyer?
As you’re thinking about these distinctions, it can be helpful to ask, “When have I succeeded with this resolution in the past?” If there was a time when you exercised regularly, cooked frequently, got enough sleep, etc., that might hold clues for how you might be able to do a better job in the present.
When we know ourselves, we can set up a resolution in the way that’s right for us. @gretchenrubin (Click to Tweet!)
It’s not that hard to keep our resolutions and to change our habits — when we know what to do.
Gretchen Rubin is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller The Happiness Project—an account of the year she spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, current scientific studies, and lessons from popular culture about how to be happier—and the recently released Happier at Home and Better Than Before. On her popular blog, The Happiness Project, she reports on her daily adventures in the pursuit of happiness. For more doses of happiness and other happenings, follow Gretchen on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Snufkin.