According to this article in About.com, the most common new year's resolutions seem to be (and in this order):
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
2. Get Fit
3. Lose Weight
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy Life More
6. Quit Drinking
7. Get Out of Debt
8. Learn Something New
9. Help Others
10. Get Organized
However, it is also known to many of us that many of these resolutions either remain unfulfilled or are short lived before old habits take over again. How can we change this?
How about shifting our thinking from "resolutions" to "practices"! Practices that we can instill and reap more sustainable benefits from. So what is a practice anyway? Here is what Wikipedia has to say about a practice:
Practice is the act of rehearsing a behavior over and over, or engaging in an activity again and again, for the purpose of improving or mastering it, as in the phrase "practice makes perfect". Sports teams practice to prepare for actual games. Playing a musical instrument well takes a lot of practice. It is a method of learning and of acquiring experience. Sessions scheduled for the purpose of rehearsing and performance improvement are called practices. They are engaged in by sports teams, bands, individuals, etc. "He went to football practice everyday after school," for example.
Applied to some of the above resolutions, this "practice-centric" thinking might lead to some of the following transformations:
- Instead of "Lose Weight", I might want to practice counting calories, planning more nutritious meals, and adding a regular exercise routine that can all together get me to the desired weight and even more importantly sustainable healthy living.
- Instead of "Get out of debt", I might want to include the practice of preparing monthly financial reports and planning expenditures more carefully, and planning paying out previous debts. Obviously there is more to it, but it all starts with the practice of stopping periodically with the purpose of planning and implementing concrete steps.
- And instead of "Get organized", I might want to review how I manage my "stuff" and develop better practices that I can apply and improve on a daily basis, and reap the benefits every day of the year.
Happy holidays and happy "practicing"!