Lose weight. Spend less. Take a vacation. Be more patient. Live simply. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, our list could go on and on. But how much of our promises do we actually keep? Blame it on our ningas cogon attitude (the Pinoy way of eagerly starting something but not finishing it), the temporary amnesia that hits us sometime in the middle of the year, or our inability to make really good, doable resolutions in the first place. But more often than not, the real reason is that we don’t know how to formulate our own resolutions.
The Four-Way Test Vicky Cantada, senior counselor at the Center for Family Ministries (CEFAM), says it can be quite a challenge to come up with resolutions. But with the right mindset—prior to listing down those resolutions—you can increase the success rate of your New Year promises. Start by answering these questions first:
1. Is there something that needs to be changed? “You have to be aware of a certain concern you want to change,” says Cantada. Are you and your husband growing apart? Are you always getting into arguments with your daughter because she can’t seem to follow your rules? Are you unmotivated at work? “You can identify these concerns on your own. Reading books and attending workshops also help because you start to reflect on your own experiences, and discover the need to change,” Cantada adds. And when you’re around successful people, you also tend to be self-introspective: What’s wrong with me? Then you become aware that something needs to be changed.
2. If you decide to make a change, what are the benefits? There are objectives or reasons why you think it will be better. Taking a vacation will mean you will be in better spirits at work and at home. Spending less could make you feel more in control of your finances. Losing weight will mean you can wear the clothes you want and feel better about yourself.
3. How are you going to go about it? It’s important to know what to do, advises Cantada. “Sometimes, you can do it on your own. But it is advisable to seek outside help—either through books or counseling.”
4. Is it feasible? Know what you can and cannot do. “For instance, you want to go on a diet, but you can’t serve the same food to your kids. Or you want to change your discipline style, but you don’t have an alternative. Or you want to tag along with your husband whenever he travels, but that would mean added expense. It has to be feasible in terms of what is real at that moment,” Cantada emphasizes.
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Click here to see some suggestions on personal resolutions for 2011.