New Year’s resolutions: to keep or not to keep

New Year’s resolutions: to keep or not to keep

As a new year dawns, many of you will be making New Year’s resolutions. But Sarah Ismail tells us why she never makes them…

New Year’s resolutions, three words that strike fear into the heart of many in a Western country. They can fill the prospect of the year ahead with hope, but are they ever achievable?

Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to stop smoking. Maybe you want to stop drinking alcohol or even taking drugs. Maybe you want to lose weight, take up swimming or some other accessible form of exercise.

Or your New Year’s resolution could be something as simple as visiting your parents more often, or phoning that friend you lost touch with five years ago for no good reason.

Most people however, sadly smoke or drink again on the 2nd or 3rd of January, lose directions to the swimming pool or the phone number for their local Weight Watchers.

And after a phone call or message to their parents, they find the business of everyday life takes over again and, despite their best intentions, the idea of seeing your parents more often gets thrown into the pile of possibilities for next year’s New Year’s resolutions instead.

Maybe your New Year’s resolution is more disability related. Maybe you decide it’s time to turn your old guide dog into a family pet and get a new guide dog. Maybe you decide to sack that paid carer who drives you up the wall, in a very nice way of course, and find a new paid carer. Maybe you decide to shop for a new wheelchair.

New Year's resolution quoteBut then you find there won’t be any new guide dogs free for another six months, every new possible carer you interview seems worse than the one you’ve already got and wheelchairs these days, well they’re just so expensive.

The truth is that in my view, New Year’s resolutions, whatever they may be and however well intentioned you are when you write them down in the shiny new notepad you got for Christmas, never last. Instead of giving hope, therefore, they end up filling you with a sense of failure. And that’s exactly why I personally don’t make ones. Instead I simply look at them as rules, made to be broken!

Nevertheless, I can’t deny that the New Year always brings with it a sense of hope and excitement – even if it’s just planning your holidays for 2014. So for those who are more determined than me to stick to their guns with New Year’s resolutions, I suggest:

1. Putting your New Year’s resolutions up on a notice board by your desk so you have a regular reminder.

2. Telling friends and family about your resolutions and letting them know they can pull you up on it if they see you breaking the resolutions.

3. Working out what steps need to be taken to reach your goal so you can see the bite sized chunks to tackle.

4. Setting date goals for the resolutions to be done by  so you can push yourself to the finish line.

5. If applicable, joining a group of like-minded people who also need to stick to the same resolution . You can support each other and fuel each other’s determination to succeed.

So to finish off, whether you set New Year’s resolutions or not, I shall leave you with a quote by Carl Bard:

Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

By Sarah Ismail

Check out…

A New Year message from Martyn Sibley
Dive in and get lost in our best articles from 2013
Martyn Sibley: fears, limits and hurdles

Do you make and keep New Year’s resolutions? We’d love to hear about them, so get in touch by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons, emailing us at editor@disabilityhorizons.com or leaving your comments below.

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  • Jonathan Chase

    Resolutions and goals dont work for most people because they are conscious. Its much better to iscover what your subconscious mind wants and to dream.