It’s been said the first 100 days of the year are critical to sticking with your resolutions. If you get that far in keeping a consistent pace you just might have developed a new habit. But three months and ten days is a long time and most folks, especially those that want to stop smoking, lose weight, or exercise, don’t get that far.  Why is that?   My analysis is that the approach needs to be different.  Countless suggestions on being realistic and specific when planning goals to keeping it simple have been tried by all of us with some level of success and failure.  Folks with life-threatening issues are more successful since their life depends on it because we all know that fear is a great motivator.

So what would be a different approach to sticking to resolutions (besides the fear of dying), especially as we are miserably sheltering in 2021?  I believe that keeping resolutions is about first developing self-discipline.

Self-discipline, according to Webster’s Dictionary, “is the ability to control one’s feelings and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.”  Resolutions are broken or forgotten because we lack keeping to a discipline.

Everyone’s realities, desires, and needs are clearly different and as the fragile humans that we are, it’s no surprise that we are always assessing what we do, what we want, and who we are.  One of my favorite quotes that I rethink every year and haggle with is.  “Life isn’t about finding yourself; Life is about creating yourself.” — George Bernard Shaw.   As I get older,  this resonates more with me as a baby boomer running against time. For me to fulfill my bucket list dreams I need to also stick to my resolutions.

Strategies to Keep us Committed

This year I am narrowing my resolutions to three to allow me to stay focus.    To remain focused, I am also implementing three strategies to help me build the self-discipline necessary to keep to my resolutions.  These three  simple strategies are the following:

1. Every morning, I remind myself why I picked these three resolutions, how are they essential to the bigger plan and what must I do today to move any of the three forward.  I write down in my planner any small steps that I can accomplish during the day to get me there. I don’t need to do something for all three resolutions every day. I just need to do what makes sense and write it down to hold myself accountable.

2. By noon,  I  check my planner to see what progress I’ve made recognizing that  I still have the remainder of the day to complete a host of pending tasks.  The purpose here is to integrate the executing of these resolutions into my daily routine and work schedule.

3. Lastly,  before ending the day, I revisit my planner to note what was accomplished.  If it did not get done, reflect on why it did not happen, forgive yourself, and recommit for the next day.

The purpose here is to be relentless at sticking to the game plan recognizing that every day will be far from perfect, but you do not give up.  Failure is not an option.  Pick yourself up on those bad days and start all over. Build the confidence and conviction to stay on target, recognizing how purposeful these resolutions are to creating the life you want.   Adapting to change is hard work, but it is also a skill that becomes an asset.   I leave you with one more quote in hopes of inspiring you to get back on the train if, by chance, you got off on the wrong stop.

Don’t  be afraid to give up the good to go for the great — John D Rockefeller