Keeping Your Resolutions

For most people, New Year’s resolutions go the way of fleeting fame, re: the Man with the Golden Voice. (Forgot him already? Rewatch his viral video from 2011 here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rPFvLUWkzs). Resolutions start out with the best of intentions and then after a few weeks (which as the formerly homeless radio announcer discovered may or may not include a visit to Dr. Phil and a trip to rehab) they crumble into fine dust and skitter away in chilly late January winds. There has to be a better way.

It turns out there may be: announce your intentions, say researchers. In particular, tell strangers, like those on an internet forum, about your designs for a better you. Studies have found that the more folks who know about your resolutions, the more folks you’ll have in your corner to root you on to accomplish your goals… and the more pressure you’ll put on yourself to make good on your commitments. And why strangers? Unlike a skinny family member who might relish being “the thin one,” compatriots like those on the messageboard of ActiveMSers (http://forums.activemsers.org/index.php) don’t have hidden agendas. Better yet, you share that common bond of having multiple sclerosis and understanding the daily challenges involved in fighting a chronic disease.
So you might not know me, and your resolutions might have already moved back to a shelter in Ohio by the time you read this, but know this: I believe in you. After all, you’re here, right? Sometimes that first step in turning a new leaf is more of a shove from behind. So get your a$$ in gear! You can do this. Absolutely you can. Just let me and your virtual friends help you out.

Oh, and how do I guarantee my resolutions stay intact every year? Easy. I always make a resolution not to make any more resolutions other than the one resolution not to make any more resolutions. Works like a charm every January 1st.
Originally published January 25, 2011. Edited and expanded for clarity.

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