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Please Don't Fall for These Top 5 Myths About New Year's Resolutions

At this time of year we’re usually posing the question, "What New Year's resolutions did you make?" It seems most responses we’re getting lately are along the lines of "I don't make New Year's resolutions." It's about time to put to bed what we consider to be the top five myths about New Year's resolutions and whether or not they are worth our time.

Myth #1: They do not work.

New Year's resolutions will work if you do. Resolution setting is goal setting. The truth is many people have a fear of setting goals because they have a fear of failure or they fear meeting face-to-face with their shortcomings. Both fears are unjustified. How do you plan to make positive changes if you do not set realistic goals and then act upon them? You must act to achieve.

Myth #2: There is no sense in making them.

Resolutions are a great way to recalibrate your life on a yearly basis. You are offered the opportunity to do an inventory of your life, where you stand, and yes, where you would like to be. Many times the fear factor keeps us from asking the questions, "Where would I like to be in life? What career would I really like to pursue? What kind of relationships with others and with that special someone would I like? Can I improve on my honesty with myself and others?" The only way you will maintain control of where you are going in life is by setting goals. Resolutions are goals. There are only three directions we are moving - forwards, backwards or standing still. Standing still is the same as moving backwards when it comes to goals. Why? Because time continues to move forward. Always be determined to do your best and improve your character. A good character means being a goal setter and goal getter. 

Myth #3: Failure is assured if you make resolutions.

Failure is assured if you make no resolutions. You will accomplish nothing without a plan of approach and acting upon that plan. You will accomplish nothing if you are not willing to make mistakes along the way. A part of being human is that we are all fallible.

Myth #5: Keep it general to succeed.

Resolutions and goals formulated in general terms are incapacitated from the start because there is no clear path to follow. Let's say, for example, your New Year's resolutions are to eat healthy, lose weight and quit smoking. That's all. What does it take to eat healthy? How are you going to lose weight? What steps will you take to quit smoking? When will you get started? You must be concrete about the steps necessary and then act upon them. Constantly spend your waking hours asking yourself how you will accomplish whatever goal you have set.

Rudyard Kipling has a great way to keep in mind what you need to do to accomplish your New Year's resolution,

"I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who."

Action plan: If you were one of those who embraced any of these five myths about New Year's resolutions, it's time to change that way of thinking. Resolutions are nothing but yearly goals. Set yours today and get back on track.

Author: Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR-Ret.
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