Do You Fail To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

You’re not alone. Research shows that the majority of all resolutions fail within 6 months. So why do we bother?

I think we make resolutions because we want to be better people. We see weaknesses and want to fix them. There’s nothing wrong with this impulse but  there’s a better way of going about it than making resolutions.

The other day I came across an article by Chris Brogan, My 3 Words for 2012.  I was intrigued. Chris’s approach is to dig deep and find three words that’ll act as your polestar as you navigate the new year.

To me Brogan’s  idea of “3 words” is similar to resolutions but acts more as a mantra – a way to remind yourself on a daily basis to hold  your course.

my 3 words for 2012

  • Simplify. I will clear out the physical and mental junk that holds little value or relevance in my life. This means tossing out, recycling, or donating stuff that’s filling useful space. I intend to be more mindful of thinking that isn’t helpful and let it go. This includes thoughts of scarcity, dread, and perfection. I will look for ways to simplify my work.
  • Play. I am by nature a somewhat serious guy with a touch of melancholy that comes no doubt from my Irish heritage.  I will learn to take time to cavort, dance, rejoice, and mess around. In other words, have some fun.
  • Accept. I will learn to accept that things often happen regardless of what I do or don’t do.  I will accept the hard times along with the good, the sad with the joyful, and abundance with scarcity. And I will try to do all this with equanimity.

Achieving success

Having 3 words  is a start. You can assure yourself greater success by doing the following:

  • Make your words public.  Put your 3 words on facebook, twitter, or your blog. Let your friends and family know how you’re doing. Going public will motivate you to succeed. I’ve  made my list public and already feel an obligation to report to you on my progress. Stay tuned!
  • Post your words. Type up your 3 words and stick them where you’ll see them every day. It might be on the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, or on your bedside table. I’ve pasted mine on my computer monitor.
  • Work on one word at a time. Your chances of success are greater if you apply yourself to changing one thing. I’ve chosen play as the first thing to focus on.
  • Make it a habit. Research shows that it takes on average about 60 days to develop a habit so that it becomes automatic. This means that each day for 60 days you need to practice the one behavior you want to achieve.  I’ll set aside 30 minutes each day for the next 60 days to engage in a playful activity that isn’t something that I’m already doing.  Once a week I’ll take an hour to “mess around”. At the end of two months I’ll chose another word while at the same time holding on to my newly acquired habit of play.

What are your 3 words?

What are the 3 words that’ll guide you through 2012? Why not share them here.  I’d love to hear from you.

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13 Responses to Do You Fail To Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions?

  1. Excellent post, Dan – beautifully put. I’d tell you my three words, but right now I have to whittle down the list from about 1,400 words….

  2. Great post and advice, Dan. Thanks! Two of my words are “breathe,” and “pray.” I’m working on the third one…

  3. Hi, Dan. Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing. My three words are:
    Breath.Release.Leap. All very difficult concepts for a Type A control freak like myself. ;~) I’m posting these on my computer as we speak.

  4. Somewhere in a cornfield in Iowa…a woman smiled. Loved your post and decided to take it on. I have a very dear friend that calls me every New Year’s with her ‘word’. She has taken on “Compassion”, “Joy” , “Play” to name a few. It was “play” that made me smile in your post.
    In fact, this morning I decided to play “Fire Drill”. You know, when you stop at a red light and have to run around the car until the light turns green ! Hope the kids do not mind as I drive them to school this morning. Cheers !

  5. Hi, Dan. My third word is “create.” I’ve blogged about my words here: Thanks again for this great idea! I really feel empowered by it.

  6. Great idea Dan, I had made my goals this year, but you have inspired me to make them more powerful by making them simpler. I agree with your first word and am starting a class Monday on decluttering my life.
    My three words are:

    Simplify. I will reduce the volume of clothing, paper, and items in my life. I will donate and throw away unnecessary items, and only keep things that bring peace, enrichment, and inspiration into my environment. I will look for ways to simplify my thoughts and actions in my life.

    Fulfill – I will bring to completion or reality my short and long term goals. I will gain happiness or satisfaction by fully developing my abilities, character, and potential.

    Faith – I will exercise more Faith, to act with more trust and reliance. Faith is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Rather than being passive in my faith I will lead an active life aligned with the teachings and the example of the Lord.


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