How To Make New Year’s Resoltions that Really Work

Happy 2008! Is your New Year off to a wonderful start? How about those New Year’s Resoltions?

There’s a wide range of responses to resolutions. Some people are energized by the clean slate of a new year and have countless ideas of what they’d like to do or improve. Others are content with the status quo and prefer not to rock the boat. Many people, disappointed by their unsuccessful track records with resolutions, may scoff at the process. What’s your take on resolutions?

Whether it’s exercising, eating healthy foods, or cutting back on caffeine, why is it that people so quickly become disillusioned with their New Year’s Resolutions? Would we all be better off simply not making resolutions at all?

I don’t think so. I think it’s important to honor our intentions. There’s often a lull after the holidays that invites us to slow down, pause, reflect on the past year, and dream of the year to come. We vow to make changes or at least entertain optimistic fantasies when there are things we want to improve in our lives. Just as an oyster needs an irritating grain of sand before it can produce a pearl, our dissatisfaction provides incentive for change. A new year gives us a chance for a fresh, new beginning and an opportunity for transformation.

But how do we go about creating change that will stick, come February, March, and even May? Most resolutions fail because they seem like a lot of hard work. It’s hard to be enthusiastic about something that’s a struggle. Take a different approach this year. Make resolutions that are fun, exciting, and make you happy. Go for an enticing outcome, but make sure the process of getting there is enjoyable. My theory is: joyful resolutions naturally happen.

We each have a built-in tool that can help us envision and successfully commit to joyful resolutions. It’s an internal compass that I call a Joy-o-meter™. It can tell you if you are beginning to steer off course, if you have completely jumped the tracks, or if you are travelling in the wrong direction. Your Joy-o-meter can guide you in making decisions about starting, stopping, or changing a particular course of action. Because we are hardwired for happiness, our Joy-o-meter always gives a true reading without ever needing to be recalibrated. Tap into the wisdom of your Joyometer by getting quiet and relaxed and then intuitively checking in to read your level of joy.

Ask your Joy-o-meter:
o On a scale from 1-10, how happy am I?
o How joyful would (Fill in the blank with whatever is in question.)_______________ make me?
o How happy would I be if I eliminated ___________?
o How happy would I be to start ___________?
o What could bring me more joy? o How happy would I be if I made this change?

In The Art of Happiness, the Dalai Lama teaches that being happy is not difficult. It’s a matter of discovering what makes you happy and then cultivating that in your life. The Joy-o-meter can be your inner guide. Have fun using this tool to create and stick to resolutions that magnify the joy in your life.