Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

January 4, 2013

How to keep your resolution without really trying

By Rebecca Todd
CNHI

— It's that time of year again. It has been nearly a week since the New Year rolled in and this is usually the point where 75 percent of Americans who made them are lamenting their broken New Year's resolutions.

The main problem with resolutions is that people tend to set the bar too high and set unrealistic goals.

"I'm going to be skinny, healthy, organized, giving, rich, and famous," they slur over a New Year's toast.

A week later they realize they've doomed themselves to failure, they become depressed and down on themselves, and they lapse into even more destructive behavior such as drinking, eating too much, and watching reality television.

But there are ways to modify your resolution that will ensure that you will succeed every time. It's not too late to make the necessary modifications.

The easiest way to succeed at keeping your resolution is to set the bar lower. For example, instead of resolving to "become skinny" or "lose 50 pounds," just say, "I resolve to lose weight this year." This keeps it wide open. Let's say you lose 5 pounds in March because you have the stomach flu. Bam! Success. You lost weight during the year, thus you achieved your goal and deserve to celebrate with a banana split. Doesn't success feel good?

Here's another one. Let's say you resolved to be more organized in the New Year. What you need to do is, get really unorganized for the first part of the year. Let the laundry pile up, lose a bill or two, forget to feed your cat a few times; you know, ignore unimportant things. Let this go on for a couple of weeks, then bounce back and resume normal activity. Bam! You are now more organized without really even having to change.

Another way to go about it would be to resolve to be a more giving person. This one is tricky because you really need to plan for it a year in advance. So let's say you want to be more giving in 2014. So this year, you are going to have to be really harsh with people. When your best friend loses his job and needs to borrow a couple of bucks, the answer this year would be, no can do. Your mother needs money for her medication. The answer this year? No can do. Kid need braces in 2013? No can do. Then when next New Year's Eve gets here, you resolve to be more giving in 2014. So in 2014, friend gets the loan, mom gets the meds, and junior gets the braces. You have succeeded. You are now more giving.

Another way to achieve success and keep your resolution is to follow my example. This year, as I do every year, I resolved to not make any resolutions. My track record is impeccable. I have always followed through with this resolution.

Best of luck in the new year!

- Disclaimer for those about to write a nasty e-mail to the author or the editor: Please note that this column is written with a hint of sarcasm. For those who do not understand the process, the idea is to show how nonsensical an item or a process is by pointing to its flaws by using irony or bitter derision. The author is not suggesting people don't feed their cat or ignore a friend in need. She is suggesting that resolutions are ridiculous. Get it now? Ha ha? For more information on sarcasm, contact the author at btodd@tds.net.