Sustaining Your New Year’s Resolution

It’s the beginning of the new year of 2011.  One tradition we have for bringing in the new year is making a New Year’s resolution.  Perhaps you made one or maybe a few?  Or you may know someone that has made a resolution?  We all make these resolutions with the best of intentions.

An unfortunate “tradition” may accompany that of making New Year’s resolutions: breaking them.  In other words, not implementing our resolution.  Studies suggest that only 12% of us are successful in keeping our resolutions.  If this is the case, how can there be any hope of sustaining our personal resolution throughout the entire year?

If you want to keep your resolution, one way to do it is through an implementation intention.  An implementation intention is just a fancy way of saying you need to plan out the steps and actions necessary to meet your goal, to meet your resolution.  First set the goal, but more importantly, set how you are going to achieve that goal.

Setting goals or resolutions is the easy part.  Anyone can say they want to lose weight this year.  Anyone can express the desire to quite smoking.  One can even post on Facebook or Twitter that they are going to reduce, recycle, and reuse more this year.  There are many resolutions that folks make.

It’s easy to say our desires.  It’s simple to have an intention.  But doing it, let alone planning it is a bit more difficult.

Planning the process, the implementation intention, to get to that goal takes a little more effort.  Although not as simple as stating a goal, studies suggest that their is a strong effect in meeting goals when making plans.  Even just the simplest of plans may help.

How are you going to lose weight?  How are you going to recycle or compost more?  How are you going to reduce, recycle, and reuse more this year?  How are you going to meet your resolution?

I can’t answer the “how” question for you.  I don’t even think I can.  I wish I could.  Part of the implementation intention process is figuring out how to achieve the resolution for yourself.

Just as it is important to keep our planet sustainable, it is also important to keep ourselves as people sustainable as well.  Saying a goal, resolution, or intention is not enough.  We need a path to implement our intentions.  Having an implementation intention to making that goal, a reality is one tool we can use towards our own personal sustainability.  Its a way to sustain our new years resolutions.

Jonathan Mariano is an MBA candidate with the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco, CA. His interests include the convergence between lean & green and pursuing free-market based sustainable solutions.

Leave a Reply