On January 1st of each year, most of us make a resolution to be a better version of ourselves.

Whether it’s to resolve our health, our jobs, our relationships or our shopping addictions, by January 2nd, most of us are back to where we started (hello shoe sales!). In fact some predict that only 8% of us will actually accomplish our resolutions.

Fact of the matter is, New Year’s resolutions are like kids: they’re fun to make, but take a lot of effort to maintain.

So if you’re one of the 92% of us humans that drop the New Year’s ball, know this: the lapse happens for one simple reason.

The problem starts with us focusing on the outcome (the resolution), not the actions (our resolve).

Big difference.

A resolution is more or less just a thing. It’s external to us. It can disappear. It’s like buying a lottery ticket, we hope and wish to be the winner but other than that hoping and wishing, we do little else. We just wish. We don’t do. 

But to resolve to do something is an active choice. It can live inside us, forever, if we so choose. It’s making a commitment and going through not one, but a series of processes (some good, some not so good!) until that resolve, like our internal organs, is simply a fixed feature of our bodies. But first, we need to decide.

Decide (verb): To make a choice from a number of alternatives.

Did you know the word decide comes from the Latin roots (de + caedere) which means ‘to cut off’?

So essentially by making a positive decision to do one thing, it means you are making a second decision to not do others at the same time. 

 So, now that we have the ‘what’ out of the way, let’s move on to the ‘how’. 

Map it out

When making a decision on what you want to do differently, it’s important to concentrate on how you’re going to do it. Say you’ve ‘resolved’ you’re going to win the lottery (fab!). To accomplish this you’ll need to buy a ticket.

  • When will you buy the ticket?
  • How will you buy the ticket?
  • Where will you buy the ticket?
  • Who will you buy the ticket from?

You will need to take a series of actions to make your resolution happen. Each of these actions will require you to resolve to get something done.

So, let’s bin the lottery analogy now as, unfortunately, no matter how strong our resolve, we can’t think or do our way to a winning ticket.

Make a smart choice

Onto more serious things. What do you want to achieve in 2024? What actions are you willing to take to make your resolutions come true? Wake up earlier to go for morning walks? Not go shoe shopping so you can save a bit of money for that trip? Give up your spare time to volunteer?

Whatever it is: choose carefully and then actively make it happen. Think of them as kids – dedicate time and energy to every single day to help them grow.

Happy New Year everyone! Wishing you 365 days of health and happiness. 

Dr Katherine xoxoxo