“Have you ever made a New Year’s Resolution that you kept?”

I think there has only been one resolution that I’ve truly kept. Most of the resolutions I’ve made in the past have ended up being a to-do list for the month of January.

I’ve tried them all; stop smoking, lose weight, exercise more… Not one of them worked.

I did eventually stop smoking but not through a New Year’s Resolution but through the use of a rudimentary knowledge of N.L.P. (Neuro-Linguistic Programming). I convinced myself that I was a non-smoker, not ‘trying’ to stop smoking. This has only been successful with this habit so far, it seems as though I exhausted my store of will power getting through the trials of nicotine (and habit) withdrawal.

What I’m doing now is forming positive habits rather than focusing on the negative aspects of behaviour.

Writing is one of these where I focused on the negative aspects, I always takes myself down, belittling my capability to express myself in written form. Therefore instead of focusing on this negative aspect and just stating that ‘I resolve to become a better writer!’, I’ve broken the behaviour down into manageable chunks.

The first behaviour to add was to write unedited for twenty minutes every day, no exceptions. This is easy, anyone can write for twenty minutes, getting words down on paper, then going back to polish it if needs be. Far more positive, just get it done, it’s easy.

I decided to use the Seinfeld method to help keep my motivation going. This involves marking off on a large wall calendar when I’ve achieved my daily goal, this develops a run which makes it harder to stop the habit that you want to develop and easier to continue. Look at that, I’ve done it for 20 days in a row… That means I can do it!

Two more behaviours are going to be included on this calendar, in different glittery pen colours :), taking a photo a day and log gin what I eat every day. Neither has anything else attached to it, not to develop a photo project or to lose weight, just to achieve the habits and build some mental muscles in these areas.

Once I’ve formed positive behaviours linked to these areas it becomes possible to add more positive behaviours. This in itself should help remove negative habits from my life as I won’t have the time to keep them up.

Some of the behaviours that I want to develop are:

  • learn Italian
  • learn how to knit
  • learn how to play the guitar

all of these are skill based, all with time commitments attached to them, all with extremely positive outcomes. Again all will be achieved in bite-sized chunks to develop the positive habits sustainably.

The resolution that I’ve kept is simple and very hackneyed… It’s to no longer make New Year resolutions.


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