Yes—it is that time of year again when we vow to make important changes in our lives. I cheer for you—even if making New Year’s resolutions may not be the only—or necessarily the best—time to make them.
Why? The New Year is one of those emotionally powerful dates that can motivate us. But it can also demotivate us. Here are the top reasons that our New Year’s resolutions don’t tend to hold up for very long. As you read them, jot down the ideas that pop into your mind.
Why Making New Year’s Resolutions Often Doesn’t Work
1. We Accept Defeat Before Starting
We’ve heard too often that we tend to break these resolutions by the end of January—and sometimes much sooner. This information seeps into our brains and gives us unconscious permission and acceptance to break them.
Instead: Well, go ahead for now to make resolutions. But it might be easier and more meaningful if, in the future, you make them on your birthday!
2. We Make Too Many Resolutions
Changing our thoughts, feelings and behavior about just one thing we don’t like in our lives is not easy. Imagine the difficulty of a complete overhaul!
Instead: Pick one resolution that bothers you the most.
3. We Make Big, Unspecific Resolutions
Some too big of a resolution are losing weight, falling in love, going back to school, breaking up. None of these resolutions are bad, but they each require small steps before implementing. Yes, it’s great to lose weight if you need to, but you need to select the beginning steps as your resolution. For example, better resolutions might be to make an appointment with your primary physician.
Instead: Think big at first about a resolution—and then think small by listing all the steps you will need to take. No step is too small. It might be not eating dessert except on Thursday night—and then keeping the portion small! I prefer midweek resolutions because we tend to fall back on our old habits during our usually unstructured weekends.
4. We Keep Our Resolutions Private And/or Do Not Recruit Family, Friends or Co-Workers for Support
Building social support, especially for big changes, is vital to keeping on track. These people can serve as your team to cheer and guide you.
Instead: Create a buddy system where you tell others about your resolution. Let them know clearly that you want them to be your reminders when you veer off course.
5. We Give Up Too Easily
We all tend to break our promises to ourselves. Obviously, we wouldn’t need to make these promises if we automatically did what is best for us.
Instead: Yes, it is wise to “get back on the horse,” but when you find yourself re-mounting too many times, it might be time to get some professional help.
The New Year is very near, so for now, just keep these tips in mind when I move on to talk about some of the most important New Year’s Love Resolutions. Not all of these will apply, but if you know someone who could use them, be a friend and let them know.
Making Smart New Year’s Dating Resolutions
1. I Will Not Put Myself in Sexually Compromising Positions in the Early Stages of Dating Someone By Going Back to One of Our Places
I am smart enough to know it can lead to sex which will arouse my brain’s pleasure hormones that make me feel attached and longing for someone I hardly know. Sex too soon hijacks my love judgment.
2. I Will Be More Mindful of My Thoughts and Feelings With My Dates
Observe and respect your thoughts, feelings and physical reactions while on a date. Take a smart dating inventory of you by getting up and going into the bathroom. Ask yourself questions such as:
Did I feel turned off? Why?
Am I falling too fast for this person? Why?
Is my tummy flip-flopping from anxiety? Why?
Is this person too good to be true?
Am I excusing warning signs? Why?
If this person were an animal, what animal do they remind me of?
3. I Will Force Myself to Meet as Many People as Possible and Talk to Potential Dates Who Interest Me
We meet potential partners every day at the pharmacy, on the tram, at the grocery store. Start an organic conversation such as: “Have you ever bought this brand?” Or, “Don’t buy that brand.” Then introduce yourself! I wasn’t always single in my life, and I have done these things! I felt stupid and a bit anxious, but I did it—and met some great men. And, yes, use dating sites and ask friends to fix you up.
4. I Will Be Aware of My Not-So-Good-for-Me Dating Patterns and Choices
We all have Emotional Default Drives that make us get into similar wrongheaded dating behavior. Know your pattern.
Am I tolerating or overlooking things?
Am I hanging in there out of loneliness?
Am I or my date running the show?
Or, am I over-correcting my previous pattern by choosing someone who seems exactly the opposite?
5. I Will Change My Dating Goal From Finding Mr. or Ms. Right to Reading My Reactions and My Date More Accurately.
Of course, this promise means that you will give most people second chances. The purpose of this promise is to boost your intuitive judgment so you can choose more wisely.
I wish you your best dating smarts!