Did you make a resolution this year? If you did, are you already beating yourself up or thinking self-defeating thoughts? Apparently fewer people are bothering with the age-old tradition because they have failed to be successful in the past.
According to a recent article by Jared Gilmour in the Sacramento Bee, if you didn’t make a resolution, you are not alone. “Maybe that’s why only about 40 percent of Americans make a New Year’s resolution each year, according to polling from the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. And, the success rate for those resolutions don’t exactly inspire, either. Only about 46 percent of resolution makers were still sticking to their resolution six months into the year, a 2002 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found.”
When I read Mr. Gilmour’s article, I thought once again about the one-size-fits all approach and the well-meaning advice we often get from others who are not wired like us. The last letter of your Personality Type is either “J” (Judging) or “P” (Perceiving). This letter reflects how we prioritize things in our life and so I believe it might hold the key to keeping resolutions.
For Personality Types ending in “J,” structure is usually a way of life. Judgers tend to like planning things out, knowing what is coming next and they often dislike surprises. A resolution, by definition, requires change – doing something you are not currently doing, or stopping something that you are currently doing. For Judgers, change needs to be institutionalized into the schedule of their daily lives. If you resolve to go to the gym, you have to decide when and where you will go and make a commitment to it. Think about your day. Is there a time when things are more likely to get off track by the actions or priorities of others? Putting your gym time in a slot that is often “thrown into a cocked hat” makes it easy to blow it off. So, carefully plan your gym time. Is first thing in the morning better? Or lunch? After work or after dinner? You know your life better than anyone and when you decide to make your resolution a priority, it will get done! If your resolution is to eat healthier then decide when you will plan your meals and build your shopping list. Develop strategies for eating out so you already know what to do when you get to your favorite restaurant. Remember what you plan is what you do; there are no accidents with you! Oh, one other thing – be realistic with your resolution! A resolution to “Go to the gym at least 3 days a week” might be more realistic that “Go to the gym everyday.” If you want to eat healthier, focus on how much better you feel. You get the point, develop a realistic plan and incorporate it into your routine.
For Personality Types ending with “P,” a totally different approach is in order. Perceivers usually prefer spontaneity and are bored with or dislike too much routine. The “J” approach described above usually doesn’t last long. Perceivers need inspiration! So ask what can you do to stay inspired? Deciding to make a resolution with a friend can help. Set up a competition if you are the competitive type or make your gym time a social time with your friend(s) if that sounds like more fun. If you are wanting to eat healthier, browse the internet for exciting new recipes to try each week and make it exciting rather than a chore. Again, consider partnering up or joining a group or on-line community to stay motivated and inspired.
Let me know how you are doing! RuthESchneider@aol.com