Why Wait? Start Your New Year’s Resolution December 1

Tomorrow is December 1. For many, this marks the start of holiday “merriment,” complete with indulgence into at least four of the seven deadly sins.

Now, I’m no prude– I like my merriment as well as the next person. That said, I’m writing today to propose a new way to organize your December: by starting your New Year’s resolution tomorrow, December 1.

What’s my thinking? Well, I don’t know about you but I find beginning anything on January 1 overwhelming. For starters, many of us are stressed from the holidays. We’ve all had far too much (or far too little) fun on New Year’s Eve. It’s possible some of us have worn our credit cards thin (and they’re the only things that are thin.) Not to mention that (for many of us) it’s cold out; we wish to hibernate.

If you’ve found yourself in the same boat, and are interested in getting aboard the December resolution party train, here are my top 3 guidelines for turning resolutions into habits:

1. Don’t talk about them with everybody.

Why do I say this? Well, I’ll begin with a question: Why is it that we find it so easy to keep our bad habits quiet, but feel impelled to run all over town talking about the new, good habit we plan to adopt? (My guess is that it often draws attention away from our bad habits…) The trouble with telling everybody is that—should we falter—we are now burdened with the disappointment of everyone we told. No, thanks.  If you find this idea difficult, maybe your resolution should be that every time you want to tell people about your new good habit, you have to tell them about a bad habit instead. That’ll help. I promise.

2. Do talk about them with somebody.

From sponsors to therapists to ministers to mentors, evidence is clear that having one person with whom you share your resolution can be helpful. So, go ahead and choose that one person. But when you do, make sure he or she is not emotionally, financially, etc tied to your success. That’s just piling on the pressure. You don’t need it. You have a resolution to keep.

3. Make them “S.M.A.R.T.”

While there are a number of definitions of “S.M.A.R.T.” goals on the web, I like the following breakdown best: Smart goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-specific. In other words, don’t set yourself up for failure by saying you want to make a million dollars, or get down to 10% body fat, or fall madly in love with your mother-in-law in the next three months. Break things down; make them incremental; have a way to measure them; verbalize/visualize how things will change once they are achieved, etc. (For more visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YmOS3dj9h0s)

With this in mind, I’ve picked my goal. I’m not talking about it with everyone. I’ve been ‘smart’ about it. I’m looking forward to December.

If you have too, enjoy! And definitely don’t tell….

Frances Cole Jones