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Gretchen Ruben on Planning Effective New Year’s Resolutions

January 1, 2010 Living, Read, Tips and Tricks No Comments


1. Ask: “What would make me happier?” It might be having more of something good. It might be less of something bad. It might be fixing something that doesn’t feel right.

2. Ask: “What is a concrete action that would bring about change?” Look for a specific, measurable action.

3. Ask: “Am I a ‘yes’ resolver or a ‘no’ resolver?” A lot of my resolutions are aimed at getting me to stop doing something or to do something I don’t really want to do. Don’t expect praise or appreciation. There’s no right way to make a resolution, but it’s important to know what works for you. As always, the secret is to know your own nature.

4. Ask: “Am I starting small enough?” We tend to over-estimate what we can do over a short time and under-estimate what we can do over a long time, if we make consistent, small steps. Little accomplishments provide energy for bigger challenges.

5. Ask: “How am I going to hold myself accountable?” Accountability is the secret to sticking to resolutions. You could track your resolutions online using the tools at the Happiness Project Toolbox. Or you could form a goals group – or even a happiness-project group! Accountability is why #2 is so important. If your resolution is too vague, it’s hard to measure whether you’ve been keeping it.

Happiness Project: Five Tips for Planning Effective New Year’s Resolutions, Gretchen Ruben, 1/1/2010.
Happiness Project Toolbox

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