Parties happened, people celebrated, and fireworks exploded. All of that to say it’s a new year. With a new year comes resolutions. I’ve had my share of resolutions over the course of my life, from losing weight to reading the Bible through in a year. Most of the time by February I’m woefully behind on my commitment.
In 2016, I wasn’t going to make a resolution, but in one of my Facebook groups, a post asked how many books we’d read in 2016. I thought long and hard about it. With writing, editing, and publishing three books, teaching, assisting a photographer, and mothering I didn’t think I would realistically read many books. I decided to be optimistic though and said I’d read 20. To my utter amazement, I read at least 23! I tried to count them up, but I couldn’t remember when I read five others. So, I didn’t add those five to the number read.
This little girl has some wonderful things to say about resolutions.
Statistics show that only 8% of people who make resolutions are successful! However your age could either help or hinder you. Statistic Brain says that 39% of people in their twenties are successful each year at keeping their resolution and only 14% of people over 50. So, how can you keep your New Year resolution? Here are some helpful hints.
1. Keep it Simple!
As I tell my students if it’s not simple, you’ll not follow through. If my reading goal would have been to read paperback or hardback books, it wouldn’t have happened last year. I read two in paperback format. Instead, the majority of the books I read were in digital format. While four were audio. It was possible to read from my computer on my lunch break.
For you, you might make your goal and break it down into simple steps. Don’t make things more complicated than they need to be. That’s when we don’t follow through. If I had a goal to lose weight and my method was to go to the gym every day, I know that would not work. My schedule is too hetic and eratic to do that, but if I wanted to do sit ups before going to bed or when I got up in the morning, that would be feasible.
2. Keep Your Resolutions Realistic!
My book reading goal was realistic but challenging. If I said I’d read 36 books that would have been crazy with the rest of my schedule. I couldn’t read three books a month!
Whatever you want to do this year, make your goal achievable by making it fit you. Yes, you want to push yourself, but you also want to make it doable. Remember there are two ways to look at this–you could be overachieving and not realistic or you could be underachieving and not pushing yourself. Find that happy balance.
The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.
3. Don’t Make a Resolution You Can’t Keep!
How many times have we been at an event or hearing a motivational speaker and the emotion of the moment rouses us to jump on board and make a commitment that later we realize we can’t keep? This holds true for new year’s resolutions as well as for everyday promises.
Be careful that what you commit to do is actually within your power to do. The riders of Dragon Courage have a saying: Do not swear to something you cannot keep. It’s a way of making sure that their words are accurate. It also enables them to keep their promises better.
4. Have an Accountability Partner!
Having someone to walk with you through your commitment really helps. Several years ago my Weight Watchers group decided to do a 5K run. Now, ever since grade school I’ve hated running. I can’t get my breath and get that stitch in my side. However, since the group was going to run, I decided I could slowly build up to running. I had the group, but I wasn’t able to run when the group ran. So, I set a date when I’d run with the family. We set a course that would be equivalent to 5K, and then I started to train.
Getting up at 5:00 in the morning wasn’t easy. I didn’t have a physical partner to train with me, but a friend I knew was in Africa at the time. She wrote a blog post about running a half-marathon up Mt. Kilimanjaro. She shared the motivational music that kept her going when she realized that half of the marathon was up-hill! She ran to the beat of Shakira’s This Time for Africa. My accountability partner became that song. If my friend couldn’t be with me in person, in spirit any time I heard that song, she was there.
In the Dragon Courage series, the riders swear by their dragons. By so doing, their dragon becomes their accountability partner. The dragon can hold them responsible. The same is true of our commitments. We need someone to walk with us and keep us accountable.
“I vow it. Upon Wyden, my dragon, I will do all in my power to train your children to be the best dragon riders they can be. They will bring honor to the memory of their father.” ~Glendyn in Dragon’s Future
So, what’s your new year’s resolution? What can I hold you accountable for? Whether you realize it or not, you hold me accountable to writing a blog every week and to continue publishing books. If it wasn’t for you my reader, I wouldn’t be taking time to write. Sure, some of the stories would be written because the characters scream loudly enough in my head to tell their tales, but without a reason to write, it isn’t worth taking the time from my already busy life. So, thank you for being there.