Commentary: Resolutions are recipes for failure unless you chart course for success

Ah, the turning of the calendar page into a new year.

Resolution time.

Which, if you fall into most majority statistical profiles, means this is the time of year that we set ourselves up for failure.

According to a recent Marist Poll, 68 percent of the folks who said they made a New Year’s Resolution last year succeeded at living up to at least a part of their promise to themselves; 32 percent said they failed outright.

A report this week from the WalletHub think tank was a more black-and-white analysis: 67 percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions, and only 8 percent of us can claim outright success one year later.

In other words, 91 percent of us cannot even live up to promises that we make to ourselves.

Makes you wonder if you can trust anyone at their word.

A local pastor in the Verde Valley once described plans, goals and resolutions as a road map to a destination. A legendary Arizona distance running coach once said that goals are nothing more than the byproduct of a clearly defined process.

For most of us, though, New Year’s resolutions are nothing more than desires. They are a wish list without a road map. They are goals without a process.

So, if you only make one resolution for 2017, start by re-wiring your brain so that you clearly understand exactly what a resolution is.

For many of us, the resolution of losing weight and exercising is first on our list every year. It comes up every year because it’s that nagging reminder that we failed miserably at the same resolution a year ago. It’s the classic example of desire without a road map.

If you want to succeed, there are a million diet plans out there, but only one has stood the test of time: Eat less and exercise more.

As for exercise, in Cottonwood we have a world-class recreation center. Or, you can keep it simple and walk or run a few miles every day. It’s an easy process: walking leads to jogging, jogging leads to running. Keep it at about 20 miles a week and you’ll have 1,000 miles in a year. Log your miles. Stay on task.

Many folks embark on a new year with aspirations of discovering their artistic side, or at least finding out if that side even exists. Do it. Take an art class or go buy a musical instrument and fork over some cash for music lessons. If you doubt your artistic or musical acumen, do it anyway. Dedication and perseverance trumps talent every time.

Or, let’s say you want the coming year to be one in which you make an investment in your community. Go volunteer at the Old Town Mission in Cottonwood, the Bread of Life Mission in Camp Verde or the Verde Valley Humane Society Adopt for Life center. Do it once or twice a week for a year. Take on a service role at your church. Volunteer at the library. Serve meals at the Senior Center. Take some classes at Yavapai College.

Whatever it is, make a road map of your own personal destination and complete the course. Define the process and stick with it. A year from now ask yourself if it was worth it.

Many years ago, Bob Dylan said that “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Make 2017 a year of rebirth.

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