For many years, I made New Year's Resolutions that were ineffective. Like most, I chalked this up to a lack of willpower, but it turns out that that was an unfair and incorrect assessment. Willpower was not the problem; instead, I discovered that one's ability to keep a New Year resolution is directly related to the quality - or worthwhileness - of the resolution itself.
This makes sense. We do things that we, in our heart of hearts, believe to be good, and important, and worthwhile. Conversely, while me may outwardly agree with others on various subjects, we inevitably don't do what we ourselves believe to be unimportant and unnecessary.
Let's take the example of weight loss. For years, I dutifully wrote down on my Resolutions List, "Lose weight." I never did. First off, I didn't really need to lose much weight, since I was fairly slim anyway. And second, I didn't really want to lose weight. I just put it on my list because everyone always talked about it around December.
This means that neither I nor anyone else can really tell you what to put on your list of New Year Resolutions, because you, and you alone, have the ability to see inside yourself and to discover what's really important to you. This takes work. Some things are not apparent, and dwell deep within our subconscious minds. Thus, my advice on making good New Year Resolutions that work consists of the following steps:
Before writing down your resolutions, sit quietly for at least fifteen minutes and think about what's really important to you. What would you really like to be able to say you've done at the end of the year? If something seems too difficult, break it down into manageable stages, and put Stage One (and maybe Stage Two) on your list.
Write your resolutions down on a piece of paper.
Be specific. If you want to read ten good books in the coming year, don't write down, "Read ten good books." Write down the titles of the ten books you intend to read.
Keep that paper with your resolutions on your desk, somewhere within sight, for the entire year.
Now that I've stressed how important it is to have your own resolutions, I feel comfortable in sharing mine.
This year, I will do the following:
I will buy, or otherwise acquire, only those items which I absolutely feel are necessary for my well-being, and for that of my family. I will not waste money or other resources.
I will donate to charity, or otherwise dispose of, those possessions no longer required by me.
I will be quiet as much as possible, speaking only when I have something necessary to say. I will avoid engaging in, listening to, or otherwise encouraging, any form of gossip.
I will continue to contribute a significant portion of any revenues received from this website to charitable organizations.
In addition to other reading, I will read (or re-read) the following worthwhile books:
The Message of a Master, by John McDonald;
The Mastery of Destiny, by James Allen.
That's the list. I feel it's important to limit the list to five things, because five things can be easily remembered and held in the mind.
Oh yes, there's one more thing everyone should have at the bottom of his or her list of resolutions, and it works like a charm:
"If I, by any chance, fail to keep any of these resolutions, I will not regard such a failure as a reason to give up on these resolutions but will, instead, simply start over the very next day, with even greater resolve.
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