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You can forget about making New Year's Resolutions if
you're hoping for a successful outcome. Most aren't
worth the paper they're written on.
No less than Mark Twain has written of New Year's
Resolutions, "Now is the accepted time to make your
regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin
paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody
smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore
his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary
community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our
reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient
shortcomings considerably shorter than ever."
The biggest majority of New Year's Resolutions have gone
by the wayside before January is over and most won't
even be remembered six months later. And the reason is
pretty simple: Most are made in response to something
negative -- a habit or situation that the person wants
to change or end. And therein lies the problem - it's
hard to develop momentum from a negative response. It is
always easier to move toward something rather than away
Consider one of the most adopted resolutions --- weight
loss. No one can get excited about losing weight because
it requires deprivation. It's a negative response to
concerns about appearance, health, etc. The results of
weight loss Resolutions demonstrate their weakness. A
1998 survey sponsored by Garden burger found that more
than three-fourths of all women between the ages of 25
and 54 make diet and weight-loss plans each year. Nearly
nine of 10 respondents reported only occasional or no
success, while almost half lost little or actually
gained weight instead.
The people who succeed at losing weight and maintaining
the loss have usually been motivated by a dream much
bigger and more positive than just losing weight. They
see themselves living a healthy lifestyle. They begin to
act and think like people who are in good physical
shape. There's more of a radical change in a person's
thinking and actions than you see with most resolutions.
It wouldn't be possible to effect and sustain such a
radical change unless the person is motivated by a big
dream that is positive in nature.
Another popular aim is to quit smoking. And I can
certainly relate to that -- I was a three-pack-a-day
smoker until I celebrated a smoke-free New Year's twelve
years ago. For over twenty years I had tried to quit
many times using every tool and technique I heard about.
But as long as I was trying to quit, I couldn't break
Instead, I developed a dream to become a non-smoker. I
fell in love with the idea of breathing clean air
instead of smoky air, of my body and clothes smelling
nice instead of smoky. I thought about how wonderful it
would be to taste food again. I decided to start acting
and thinking like a non-smoker, and when the thinking
took hold I simply quit smoking. In all the years since,
I've never wanted another cigarette, never even thought
about wanting one.
If you're going to make a New Year's Resolution this
year, make one with a high probability for success. Make
a Resolution to develop a life plan. Most people are in
a free-fall through life, careening from one crisis to
the next. They wake up one day and 10, 20, 30 or more
years have passed and they're nowhere near where they
thought or hoped they'd be. Working with a life plan
you're much more apt to be excited by what the future
brings even if you succeed at attaining only a small
part of your plan.
A life plan should address all areas of your life
including finances, health, relationships, career,
spiritual and even recreational. While a lot of our
focus tends to be on financial issues like increasing
income or decreasing debt, or health issues like losing
weight or quitting smoking, the undeniable truth is that
a life lived out of balance isn't a life of quality at
If you were going to build a new house and you had this
idea for a fabulous master bedroom suite, you wouldn't
rush out and start building the master bedroom. You'd
have a complete plan before you started. When you
approach resolutions and goals in the same manner, you
end up with a much better chance of achieving success.
This article is excerpted from Vic Johnson's book, Day
by Day with James Allen. "Day by Day with James Allen"
gives you a bite-sized, daily helping of James Allen's
self-help classic, As A Man Thinketh, along with the
insights and experiences of himself and others. Some
days bring comfort, some bring hope and inspiration, and
still others bring a call to action. But every day
brings the ageless wisdom that has helped so many
understand that as we think in our hearts, so we become.
Book includes complete text of As A Man Thinketh. To
order go to
Vic Johnson or call 877-929-0439.
"If there be any
truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what
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