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I recently found out the reason why New Year resolutions do not work. The word “resolution” comes from the root word “resolve” which means “to be resolute, to settle conclusively, to reach a decision/conclusion or cause to go into a solution”. Here is the reason why it does not work: we resolve on things we cannot settle conclusively, things we aren’t sure we have arrived at a decision on and things we don’t really know how to solve or how long it will take us to solve it. For instance, let’s take the the case of someone who has been addicted to drugs for 10 years. On December 28, 2015, it hits him that he has to stop using these drugs then he writes down as one of his new year resolution to “Stop Using Drugs In the Year 2016”. Let’s pause a minute and consider how he is going to stop using these drugs? He did not write down the steps to getting out of this hole. He did not add up a contingency plan on how he’ll get back on the horse if he falls down. This is why his resolution would not work because he only made a wish and resolving is way different from wishing. I have compiled a list below of reasons why this man’s New Year resolution would not work. You can check the list through your own 2016 resolutions to make the necessary adjustments. 1. Intangible resolutions: The above resolution is hard to pin down or understand. The first question I am bound to ask this dude if he shows me this resolution of his is, how do you plan on making this happen? But I suspect because they are just wishes, he does not really know how it is going to happen. The best way to avoid becoming frustrated in achieving your resolution is to make them not just rational but achievable, specific and measurable. The best way to do that is to have a plan for daily actions or at least weekly actions towards your year goal. 2. Hidden resolutions: If you are indeed resolute about something, your family and friends will have at least an inkling of what you are resolute about. If this dude’s family or friends have no idea that he is trying to get out from the drug hole, then I am 80% sure that he is not resolute about those goals and might not be able to fulfill them. If you are truly determined to make those changes happen, don’t hesitate to share them with family and friends that would encourage and help you back on your feet when it seems you might not fulfill them. 3. Complicated resolutions: I believe strongly that whatever is true is usually simple. It might not be 100% of the time but most times, if you find yourself in complications, the truth is not in it with you. I feel if your resolutions are complicated to you, then you most probably are lying to yourself and complications are usually on the sure road to failure. Keep your resolution list short. Keep it simple. Keep it attainable. Remember it is not about how fast you can change, it is about recognising a lifestyle of change and working at it. Make 2016 resolutions work this time!  

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This article was first published on 29th December 2015

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