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Are yours broken yet?

Happy New Year!

What is it about resolutions? What compels us to make them, and break them, up to 20% of them, apparently within the first week of January?

What makes us think, I will organise the family, keep them to a strict, nay military, regime in the morning, and we will all arrive at school and work on time, calm, relaxed and ready to get on with the day ahead? We’ll even have a chart with everyone’s name on it, each with resolutions (shall we call them targets?) of their own. ‘I will tidy my room’. ‘I will complete my chores’. ‘I will hand my homework in on time.’ ‘If I have an early night there will be no need for a double espresso before I’ve made the packed lunches.’ ‘I will be organised and won’t grab a present for a child on the way to the party forgetting to check if it was for Joe or Jo.’ We all do it, from time to time, don’t we?

And most of us slide too. 80% by the end of the first year (see link above), if not more.

And these days, with the proliferation of social media sites such as Facebook, we decide to announce our resolutions to the world on the 1st January. Why not? We fully intend to keep them then, in the blurry fog of a post-party haze. So our friends and family, colleagues and the Facebook friends we may never have met can hold us to account, should we fail. And statistics show most of us will.

Ah, but so will they, you say. We all will. So, what’s it all about? What precisely is it about resolutions that have self-destruction in built? Unrealistic expectations. Over ambitious targets? Or more than one of these.

So, what can we do about it? If you can’t shake the desire to give yourself aims (and aims can be good, right?) you could do something radical. You could make your resolutions at another time of year. Say, in September. That could work. Maybe when you are on holiday? When you have the time and space to reflect, rather than at one of the busiest times of the year when most of us will have the desire to put right all the over-indulgence of the preceding weeks. It’s got to feel better sitting with the sun on your face, maybe a cocktail at your side, thinking of how you could improve things (fitness, healthy eating) before the Christmas splurge. www.theguardian.com

And you could keep your aims small and positive. Use a chart. Have a line for ‘spend more time with the kids’ (they could have a line too echoing yours – spend more time together as a family) and plant a great big gold star next to it when you’ve done something together. When you’ve used those cupcake cases you bought her for Christmas, filled them with all things healthy, of course, baked and eaten them together. Or you and your son have taught yourselves to juggle.  Those are small changes, resolutions well worth keeping.