How to be more successful at keeping your resolutions

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

It has been one month into the year of 2015. For those of you who make resolutions at the start of the year, how successful have you been at keeping them?

Personally, I do not have the habit of making resolutions. Based on past experiences, I fail terribly at keeping them as I don't have the discipline to. If you are one of the successful few, please let me know how you do it.  

Nevertheless, I committed myself to three resolutions for this year. 

During our last bible class session for 2014 on New Year's Eve, the church was challenged to reflect on what we had done in the year, and how we can make our lives better as a vessel for God in 2015. 

I heard groans and mumblings. Caught a "I don't make resolutions 'cos I can't keep to them!" amidst the shuffling of paper as post-it notes were being passed down and I knew I was not alone in this. Wanting to make the best out of that, I starting thinking seriously about the changes I want to make in 2015 for the Lord and for myself. 

But when 2015 started, I panicked. 

Day 1 passed and I did nothing about my resolutions. I blamed it on my busy day, the unexpected tasks that popped up, the tiredness I felt ... and the list of reasons (read: excuses) went on. 

Eh, so much for wanting to keep to my resolutions. 

That got me rather frustrated as I was quite determined to get things right this year. I wasn't ready to just let this whole resolution thing once slip away again. I reflected and thought about the distractions that drew me away from keeping to my resolutions. I am sharing my action plan here, and hope that it will help you as much as it is helping me. 

1. Share the resolutions 

Tell some one - a close friend, a family member or just anyone. On that last night in December, each of us shared our resolutions with a small group of sisters. 

I find that telling someone or a few people makes me more accountable to that person, and it helps me to be more successful at conquering what I set out to do. The advantage is that that friend can also check on you periodically to find out your progress, and serves as a reminder if you have not been keeping to your resolutions. 

2. Make the resolutions visible 

Write out your resolutions and pin them up on the wall, set it as a wall paper on your phone. I wrote mine on a piece of post-it note and placed it at the back of my phone. The note works as a visual reminder else the "out of sight, out of mind" mentality will cause me to fail at this whole thing once again. 

I also did a colouring page to motivate me to keep to my resolution of reading the whole Bible in one year. How this helps me is that I get to colour one small space on this sheet after I finish reading the chapters specified on my bible reading plan. There is enough space for 365 days of bible reading, and I plan to color in the background after I complete this at the end of the year as my certificate of achievement. 

L has also helped by monitoring this sheet and if no extra spaces have been coloured in for a few days, he asks me about it. 

You can download the motivation colouring sheet here for your personal use. 

3. Set a routine 

Making a habit of what you aim to achieve will definitely increase the success of keeping to your resolutions. I'm still working on this, as routines are not really my cup of tea. I'm a type 'I' person - 'I' for impulsive - so routines don't work well for me. But I find forcing myself to sit and concentrate on my Bible after sending the kids off to school works so far. Fingers crossed that I can do this every day. Next up to be set as a routine is my exercise plan (ughs... I sure need help with that).

4. Pray for diligence and perseverance 

The group of sisters took turns to pray for each another after we shared our resolutions. I am thankful that I can rely on God for strength when my flesh is weak, and to pray for a committed heart to finish what I set out to do this year. 

5. One resolution at a time 

I made three resolutions but I am only working on one right now. It seems more successful as I am not too overwhelmed to tackle all three resolutions right from the start of 2015. I took the whole of January to stay focussed on keeping to one resolution. As for this month, I'll be working on the other two. We'll see how it goes after February. 

With these 5 steps, I envision myself with a smile of accomplishment at the end of 2015. What about you? Do you also make resolutions for the year? What are your tips to keeping to your resolutions? Please share!

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  1. Incidentally i just wrote a post on how I managed to finish my read through the bible last year!
    Jia you, Mary! Great tips on how to keep your resolution - press on!

  2. I also recently posted about 5 things that I will do in 2015. And I agree that having someone to be accountable to your resolutions and action plan works. Wishing you success in ticking them off when the year ends :)


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