Taking Back the Holidays: Make A Promise, Not A Resolution

The trouble with New Year’s resolutions isn’t that everyone and their mother always breaks them.

It’s that you’re thinking too small.

Most of them time, you (and us too!) use resolutions to “fix” problems. Lose those extra pounds. Stop being late. Drink less coffee. Drink more—but better—coffee. These fix-it resolutions focus all your attention on what’s going wrong or how you feel you’re messing up. No wonder they don’t work!

What if, instead, you made a promise, to yourself or someone else, in support of who or how you want to be? You’d be taking a step to change your life in a bigger, longer-lasting way. You’d be starting a positive revolution, instead of setting yourself up for a failed resolution. Here are five examples of what we mean.

Problem: The Afternoon Cake
You eat a slice of cake, muffin, or cake-that-pretends-it’s-bread (I’m looking at you, zucchini bread) on your way home from work every day, even when you’re not hungry.
Old Resolution: I resolve to quit eating sweets in the late afternoon.
The Promise Revolution: “I work hard. I eat dessert in the afternoon because I’m tired and stressed out. I promise to treat myself in other ways because it will make me feel better and healthier.”

Problem: Those Ten Pounds

You know that if you lost just ten pounds you’d fit into your old jeans (and you’d look good, feel good, and be happier) .
Old Resolution: I resolve to hit the gym three times a week and not eat cheese until I lose ten pounds.
The Promise Revolution: “I promise to do something every day that makes me feel strong, confident, and beautiful in my body. I promise to make a list of things I can do, and I promise to do them.”

Problem: Never Seeing Your Best Friend
You keep making plans to go for a walk with your buddy but something always comes up—sick kids, work, low energy.
Old Resolution: I resolve to put more time into my friendships.
The Promise Revolution: “I promise to feed my friendships, even when it’s hard, because I know that time with friends makes me happy and lowers my stress.”

Problem: Staying Up Too Late

You know sleep is good for you, but you stay up until midnight, every night, looking at your tablet.
Old Resolution: I resolve to get more sleep.
The Promise Revolution: “I promise to make my bedroom cozy and my bedtime an enjoyable part of my day, so that going to sleep feels good.”

Problem: The Short Temper

You’re at a low simmer all the time—except when you boil over, which is all too often. It’s taking a toll on your family and work relationships.
Old Resolution: I resolve to be less angry with people.
The Promise Revolution: “I promise to treat my anger like a symptom of a bigger problem. I may be burned out. And I may need to ask for help. And I promise I will.”

The New Year gives you a chance to turn the problem into a promise to improve your whole life, not just put a band-aid on it.

So let us know—what will be your Promise Revolution this year?