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Put Your New Year’s Resolution to Work!

This is a post by Dr. Dustin Lee

2018: The year that I finally get healthy. The year that I speak to my family and friends more. The year that I make that big career move. The year that I (fill in your own resolution here).

The turn of the new year is a globally momentous occasion. It is a holiday that is celebrated by all. Many individuals use this time of year to start fresh, right the wrongs or get motivated to accomplish something new. Well, I say good! Go get ‘em! The feeling of motivation is unquestionably tangible. When you have it, make sure you put it to good use. Most people turn this new-found motivation into a New Year’s resolution.

The unfortunate problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they are hardly ever accomplished. They often lead to disappointment and culminate in a repetitive cycle of hoping for another fresh start in the next new year. Resolutions soon begin to look more like this:

2018: The year that I was healthy for two weeks, but then my job started requiring more time; I have not been to the gym in four weeks. The year that I spoke with my family and friends a bit more, but it has been a month since I have talked to my best friend. The year that I should have been promoted, but I did not plan on my projects going over their deadlines and my boss being upset with me.

The word resolution is a noun that means “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” It is a declarative statement about the end goal of your motivation. For instance, if “I will go to the gym more,” was your New Year’s resolution, then your measurement of success is simply the act of going to the gym more than you have in the previous year. If “I will purchase a home,” was your resolution, then your measurement of success will be, as you guessed, purchasing a home. The formula for success is theoretically simple. Was the resolution accomplished or not? This inherent simplicity is the reason I believe many resolutions are unsuccessful. However, if you are still convinced that this will be your year of accomplishment, again, good! Go get ‘em! But, continue reading if you actually want to make 2018 the year that you make your resolution a reality.

Remember, a resolution is a declarative statement and is an end goal inspired by your motivation. It is a noun. The missing link to successfully completing your resolution is the action plan, the verb, the process. That missing link is found in the verb: resolve. It means “to settle or finda solution to, or to decidefirmly on a course of action.” Notice the bolded words, “find” and “decide,” in the definition of resolve. These words require conscious thought more than solely completing a task. This is the “how to” of accomplishing your New Year’s resolution. If we use the examples provided earlier, then we find that the resolutions “I will go to the gym more,” and “I will purchase a home,” become much more interesting and lead to further questions that will help you accomplish your goal.

Okay, so you want to go to the gym more.

  1. What equipment will you need?

  2. Do you have enough room in your budget for a membership?

  3. How many days per week will you go?

  4. Will your schedule allow you to go for that many days per week?

  5. What time will you go?

  6. How much time will you spend there?

  7. What will you do on each day you are at the gym?

Okay, so you want to purchase a home.

  1. How much money would you like to spend on a home?

  2. What time of year are you interested in closing on a home?

  3. Who can recommend a real estate agent to you?

  4. Where would you like to live?

  5. What is a mortgage?

  6. How do you find out more information about buying a home?

The questions above are examples of the conscious thought that is required to begin acting on your resolution. You can make definitive steps toward accomplishing your resolution by developing an action plan. This action plan will consist of timelines and steps to complete that will lead to success. It will draw your attention to your end goal and let you work for smaller chunks at a time on completing your goal, instead of trying to work on everything at once.

I hope you are starting to see the difference between making a resolution and resolving a resolution. I encourage you to begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions as New Year’s action plans. I would love to hear about your resolutions and how you will implement action plans to resolve them, and again I say, go get ‘em! Let 2018 be your year!

Happy New Year to our Precision Performance and Physical Therapy family!


Dr. Dustin Lee PT, DPT


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