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From the Head Coach: Improve your success by changing the rules

Dec. 29, 2011 at 6:29 a.m.


BY LANE JOHNSON

Well, here it is. Another New Year. Resolution time! Time to make all those promises for a better life and healthier lifestyle.

New Year's resolutions are becoming less and less popular. Did you know that? By the most optimistic statistics, only 40 percent of us even attempt resolutions any more. Within six months, only 45 percent of those people are still keeping them.

So, why do we do it? Why not just resolve to stop making resolutions? Or would we break that one, too?

In spite of the fact that resolution-keeping has one of the worst track records for success, we keep trying because we really do want a better life.

Look at the top 10 most popular resolutions made every year:

1. Spend more time with family

2. Get fit

3. Lose weight

4. Quit smoking

5. Enjoy life more

6. Quit drinking

7. Get out of debt

8. Learn something new

9. Help others

10. Get organized

These are all great ideas. I wonder why only 40 percent of us are promising to do it. Maybe the rest of us don't have problems with these pledges for a better life. Or maybe most of us have just given up trying. It seems to me that New Year's resolution making needs a facelift.

Instead of doing the same old thing, making the same old promises, and getting the same old results, I'm resolving this year to change the rules for resolution making. Rather than change my resolutions, I'm going to change how I make them. Here are my new rules:

Rule No. 1: Only make resolutions you know you will keep. This will protect you from making all those lofty promises and then stressing out on trying to keep them, only to lose in the end anyway. Of course, you may have to simplify your resolutions in order to guarantee success. Like, "I resolve this year to breathe more."

Rule No. 2: Make only one resolution at a time. The next resolution can only be made when the first one is successfully completed, limiting you to just one lie for the whole year instead of countless ones. This alone will improve your life.

Rule No. 3: Make resolutions for only six months. Statistics show that most resolutions are broken after six months. Now when you break a promise in the seventh month, you can explain that it isn't a resolution anymore, so you really haven't broken it. If only 45 percent of resolutions are still good after six months, then by making them for only 50 percent of a year, you have reduced your vulnerability to only 5 percent. If you keep Rule No. 2 and make only one resolution at a time, then the vulnerability to breaking a promise only applies to one resolution. What's 5 percent of 1? Sounds within acceptable limits of error to me. You are now successful.

Rule No. 4: If you think Rule No. 3 makes sense, then join me in taking a statistics and accounting course this year. Or don't, and enjoy our little fantasy.

That's it. Only four rules. I'm ready to charge into 2012 with bold resolve. One resolution at a time. I begin by resolving to laugh out loud every day. I can guarantee to keep this one. In fact, after six months, I may just select for my second resolution to laugh out loud louder.

Happy New Year!

Lane Johnson, M.Div., LPC, is a licensed counselor. He welcomes your comments. You can contact him by email at lane@StrategicConnectionGroup.com.

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