What To Do Instead of Making a Resolution

On the eve of every New Year, for as long as I can remember, I got out a legal pad and wrote a long list of resolutions for myself to live up to in the coming year.  Things I would do.  Things I would stop doing.  Habits I would break.  Some of them I actually kept for one or two weeks.  I never got started on many of them.  Actually, I never got started on most of them.  It wasn’t my fault.  Resolutions just aren’t all that effective in helping to change behavior.

Let’s look at a common New Year resolution. ” This year, starting right after tomorrow (the New Year holiday), I’m going to lose  the extra weight.  I’m so disgusted.  I’ve outgrown this pair of pants that I bought just six months ago.  It will be a strict diet for me. No more butter on my toast.  No chocolate chip cookies on my break.  I’ll eat fruit for lunch and a hard-boiled egg with a salad for dinner.  I’m really serious this time.  Things are so out of control.”

How likely is it that this person will make the same resolution next year?  Pretty high.  In fact, it’s likely they made the same resolution last year and the year before that.

The person who makes this kind of resolution is taking action in a very negative state of mind.  The feelings include disgust and even self-loathing.  Action taken in this state of mind is less likely to be effective and bring the kind of change that is wanted.

So, instead of beating herself up, what should this person do?  The best thing for her to do is to step back and take the time to get into a positive, or at least a less negative, state of mind, before taking any action.  Feeling better about her body and herself before taking any action at all will help this person to find the path to her ideal body as surely as negativity kept her off it.

She could reach for any thought that brings a better feeling.  Here are a few:

  • I don’t have to be a size 2 by next week.
  • There are small habits I could change that would make a big difference over time.
  • My body deserves to be treated kindly by me.

Feeling good actually inspires people to take action whereas feeling bad makes them want to drag their feet.  Here we used the example of losing weight, but it’s true for any area in which you might wish to make changes.  Finding a way to feel good before the change occurs is actually the best way to make the change successfully.

If you want to share this post, or make a comment, please click on the title.  Have a blessed New Year in 2015.








Thoughts Are More Important Than You Thought

Take Notice Of  What You Are Thinking

How closely do you pay attention to the 60,000 or so thoughts that run through your head every day?  Take a few minutes and really listen to the content of your thoughts.

Are you noticing thoughts like these?

  • I really “screwed up” when I made that comment this morning.  I don’t know what I was thinking!
  • I’m so disorganized and I can’t change.  That’s just who I am.
  • This project is going to be so hard and will take so much time.
  • It’s so easy to gain weight and so hard to lose it.
  • There are no good (men, women, jobs) out there.

If these kinds of thoughts dominate the parade of thoughts that stream through your mind every day, it would be in your best interest to change them.  These kinds of thoughts do not spur you on to success or improve your well-being in any way.  They may well just make you want to “give up,” especially if you are marinading in them every day.

Change Your Thoughts To Change Your Life

If you want to change things in your life, you must begin by changing the thoughts in your mind.  If you want to be a person who is organized, productive, thin, on time, fun to be with, or whatever, you must first think of yourself (imagine yourself) to be organized, productive, thin, on time, fun to be with, or whatever.  You must find ways to think thoughts that make you feel better, even if it’s just a little bit better.

Try thinking the thoughts below and notice how you feel as compared to how you felt when you thought the ones above.

  • My usual modus operandi is to say things very tactfully.
  • Organization and time management are skills that anyone can learn, even if they have ADHD.
  • Maybe it won’t be as hard or take as long as I think.  What can I do to make it easier and more enjoyable?
  • I can start with small changes.  I can begin going in the right direction by doing something as small as giving up my evening snack or walking for 15 minutes a day.
  • My middle-aged neighbor got married last year so there must be some good (men/women) out there.  My sister started a new job last month so there must be jobs out there.


Self-critical or judgmental thoughts will not help you to improve your life in any way.  They will make you feel bad and the worse you feel, the more things spiral downward.  Thoughts that make you feel better will inspire you to take action and the actions you take when you feel better will be more effective.  It is true that you become what you think about so make sure you are thinking about what you want to become!