Home » Happiness Tip: Make a Resolution, Part 2

Happiness Tip: Make a Resolution, Part 2

Were you too busy over the holidays to make your New Year’s resolutions? Or maybe you made a resolution, but you never really started doing it?

Making a New Year’s resolution increases the odds that you will make a change in the coming year by TEN TIMES! If there is something in particular that you’d like to improve about yourself, make a resolution now.

Here are some quick tips for making successful changes:

1. Pair your list of resolutions down to JUST ONE easy thing. You have a limited supply of willpower each day, and unless you are superhuman, you probably don’t have the self-control you need to deal with your life AND keep up with a long list of lofty resolutions. Better to aim a little lower, but then actually accomplish something. What one small thing do you want to do differently this year?

2. Be really specific about what you’d like to achieve. Maybe you want to get more exercise, but you haven’t really done much on this front. Specify HOW you will get more exercise and EXACTLY WHAT you will do (e.g., take the stairs every morning and evening, or to go to the gym twice a week).

3. Pre-commit to your resolutions. Like Odysseus chaining himself to the mast while sailing past the Sirens, sometimes we need extreme measures to keep ourselves from temptation. Yale researchers created a website where you can make a contract with yourself to keep your resolution (stickK.com). I love this website, and recommend it highly. Folks who commit  to their resolution fully on stickK.com (by naming a referee to enforce financial penalties) dramatically increase their odds of success.

Take Action: Make your one easy, specific resolution now, and find a way to “pre-commit” to it. What penalty will you suffer if you don’t meet your commitment?

Join the Discussion: Tell us what your resolution and pre-commitment is here.

Want more support for your resolutions? Sign up to get the last week of emails related to our resolutions group here; the free version of this class ends January 21st, so jump in now!