How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, put together these tips for making and keeping New Year’s resolutions:

1. Ask: “What would make me happier?” Think more of something good – or less of something bad.

2. Ask: “What is a concrete action that would bring about change?” Avoid abstract resolutions (hard to keep.) Look for a specific, measurable action.

3. Ask: “Am I a ‘yes’ resolver or a ‘no’ resolver?”  A lot of my resolutions are aimed at getting me to stop doing something or to do something I don’t really want to do.  There’s no right way to make a resolution, but it’s important to know what works for you.

4. Ask: “Am I starting small enough?” Many people make super-ambitious resolutions and then drop them, feeling defeated, before January is over. Start small! Don’t over-estimate what we can do over a short time and under-estimate what we can do over a long time, if we make consistent, small steps.

5. Ask: “How am I going to hold myself accountable?” Accountability is the secret to sticking to resolutions. Accountability is why #2 is so important. If your resolution is too vague, it’s hard to measure whether you’ve been keeping it. A resolution to “Eat healthier” is harder to track than “Eat salad for lunch three times a week.”

The WSJ suggests the following:

• Take one step at a time.
• Get a little help from your friends.
• Change your environment.
• Announce your intentions.
• Figure out your attachment to bad habits.
• Expect setbacks.

Good suggestions all.


Five Tips for Planning Effective New Year’s Resolutions
December 16, 2009

Book: The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun

Happiness Project Toolbox

A Cheat Sheet for Keeping Resolutions
WSJ, DECEMBER 31, 2009

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