Sunday, December 28, 2014

Two Sure-Fire Ways to Keep Your New Year's Resolutions

Resolutions are big in my family. 

We make them and mock them. We egg each other on to keep them. And break them. 

It helps that we write them down. 

Every year, for the past fourteen years, we've hosted a New Year's Eve party with the same group of friends. One of the party-goers, the most resolute of the resolution-makers, (for the purposes of this blog, we will call this person "Deb") records everyone's resolutions. She used to do this on a scrap of paper, but one year her resolution was to buy a blank book that would be used for the sole purpose of recording resolutions.

"Deb" has now become the Keeper of the Resolution Book. 

"Deb" with "the book." It's "fun" to flip through this book
and see what resolutions we made (and broke) over the years.

I know that not everyone is a fan of making resolutions. If you want to make a goal, make a goal. is what some people say. Why do you need to do it on Dec. 31? 

Also, a lot of people make resolutions and then break them like, three days later, as many gym workers will tell you. 

All true. But there is a reason why resolution-making on New Year's Eve has become a tradition. (See here on Wikipedia about how it can be traced back to the Babylonians and the Romans.) (Another fun Wiki tidbit: 88% of all resolution makers fail.

Anyway, after fourteen years, "Deb" and I consider ourselves experts on how to make--and successfully keep--resolutions. If you want to be one of the 12%, read on.

1. Say your resolutions out loud. In front of a witness. Or fifteen.

There's power in verbalizing what you plan to do. I would venture to say that it is the very first step in achieving any goal. You've got to name it. Lose ten pounds. Run a marathon. Finish a novel. Whatever. You won't do it, if you can't say it. And having witnesses adds a bit of peer pressure, people who will hold you to it. 

Last year my husband and I made a joint resolution to visit cultural sites around the city. We took pictures of the various sites and sent them to the Keeper of the Book. 

A Chihuly sculpture at the Columbus Museum of Art

Side note: Attending a Food Truck Festival does not count. According to "Deb."

Sometimes the peer pressure aspect can really spur you on. For the past four years my husband resolved to paint the trim on our house. Last summer we vacationed with "Deb" and family and they joked about how that resolution had become something of a rolling resolution for my husband. Ha ha, they said to him. Wonder what your resolution will be this year? 

We got home from vacation and my husband painted the trim on the house.  

Which brings me to number two. 

2. Set a low bar. 

Painting the house trim is hard. I do not recommend resolving to do hard things like that. Lose weight? Run a marathon? Who are we kidding? 

When my kids were little, simply getting dressed and venturing out of the house seemed like a fairly big deal. I had only one resolution:

Wash my face every day. 

I confess that I did not always achieve this lofty goal, but it was something to shoot for and most days, I did, in fact, manage to accomplish it. 

Now that I think of it, I was usually the only person who remembered and successfully kept my resolution. 

So forget everything I said. 

Make resolutions. Or not. Break resolutions. Or keep them. 

Whatever you do on New Year's Eve, I hope it is done (or not done) while surrounded by dear friends.


Last year on New Year's Eve moments before the resolutions
are shared and recorded... and forgotten.


  1. Nice post! I wish I was better at resolving to do things. I gave up on resolutions long time ago, but you make some helpful tips here so maybe I'll try again.

  2. I like best the washing face goal. :)