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New Years Resolutions

One of the traditional problems with New Year?s resolutions is that they tend to last as long as the new years day hangover or at best for a week or two into the New Year. For a new years resolution to work it really needs more planning.
Over recent days I have been doing a quick survey of friends and colleagues to find out about peoples new years resolutions for 2006. My initial impression was that New Year?s resolutions have fallen out of fashion, with many people having given it no thought whatsoever. Quite a few had given up due to failed past attempts at keeping their resolutions, indeed one person offered a quote from her desk calendar: ?The list of new years resolutions you made last year can be used again. It?s as good as new.?

A few people in my survey had opted for some of the more popular ?should do? resolutions such as losing weight, drinking less, quitting smoking and exercising more. A small few had given it more creative thought. Jo had decided to finish all the projects she has started in 2005. Bob had decided to be more generous in 2006 and Michelle had decided to start a family. Chris had decided that in 2006 she would focus on the things that are important and not get stressed over things that don?t matter too much. Perhaps if we all did that the world would be a much happier place.

While the ?should do? resolutions are always worthwhile and of long term benefit, they are not the only kind of resolution we can aim for. Other options might be caring more for our selves and our families, taking more time to relax, learning to manage anger, being more forgiving or having the occasional weekend away to recharge our emotional batteries.

One of the traditional problems with New Year?s resolutions is that they tend to last as long as the new years day hangover or at best for a week or two into the New Year. For a new years resolution to work it really needs more planning.

The first step is to start right away and determine what you want to achieve. Don?t take on too many things at once, and choose something you have a realistic chance of achieving. Write down your plan and keep it where you will see it every day. Where possible, have a clear goal in mind which is measurable, for example, reducing alcohol intake to within a certain limit. List strategies for a achieving your goal, that is everything and anything that will make it as easy as possible to be successful. It is also good to enlist the help of people close to you who will provide ongoing support and encouragement.

Finally, don?t be a perfectionist, monitor your success and enjoy your success, even if it isn?t perfect or takes longer than planned. Rewarding yourself when you are successful is also a good strategy. If you have failures along the way, learn from your mistakes and keep persisting. Look at what didn?t work and what you can do differently for a better result. Ultimately, giving up is the only real mistake.

Mitchell Brown is a Psychologist at Alpha Counselling Services Five Dock & Eastwood
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