Skip to main content

3 keys to keep your New Year's resolutions

The New Year is upon us. Yet as I write this post in early January 2022, I must take a short pause to wonder about a couple things.

How many of us had a great 2021?

How many of us are hoping that 2022 is exponentially better than 2021?

How many of us made New Year’s Resolutions?

And even though we are still in January, how many people have given up on those resolutions for this year already?

I will let the cat out of the bag – I am not a big resolutions guy. That is not to say that I never make them, as I absolutely have. I can say that keeping them has been a challenge for me. Perhaps you have had issues with keeping your resolutions as well?

I have done the “get into shape this year.” 

I have done the “this is the year that I am going to floss every day” thing as well. 

Both to unspectacular results….

But I have found a couple keys to help with keeping them that I will share with you today:

Key #1: Keep it simple.

My get-into-shape resolution was about doing situps and pushups and running and jumping, and and and….  It was complicated. So, I got discouraged and quit. I have found that keeping things simple, while not at all sexy, is a key to developing a new discipline.

People like simple things.

Simple things are repeated.

Repeated things can change the world (or your life … or your year).

Now we must not confuse simple with easy.  Because what is easy to do is also easy not to do.

Perhaps you have heard the old expression that an apple a day keeps the doctor away?  I was not eating an apple a day, so I thought it would be a reasonable thing to do.  While I was not successful with that resolution, it did reveal the second key to me.

Key #2: Have a plan.

While eating an apple is a simple thing, it does require some level of planning which I was not doing. As we both know, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. And I failed magnificently! Soi many of our resolutions are truly noble ambitions, but far too many people put no plan – no structure – around them to increase the likelihood that they will do the thing they set out to do. Yet even with structure to help you along, there are times where we all struggle. 

This brings me to the third key.

Key #3: Commitment.

Somewhere along the way, someone suggested to me that I needed to do 10,000 steps a day. That sounds nice. Until I started tracking. Ten thousand steps is no small amount! When I first started tracking them, there were days – busy days – where I would end up with 4,200 steps. “How on earth do people get 10,000 a day,” I would ask myself. I decided that these people must not have any type of life, or job, or family, that would allow them to achieve such a thing.

Then one of my mentors told me there was no substitute for the made -up mind. Or in other words: commitment! So, in December 2016 I made up my mind that I would get in 10,000 steps a day. I made the commitment. And you know what? I haven’t missed a day since.

You see, when you commit to something, you subscribe to a new mindset. I have a special expression for this mindset. I believe that everything is “figure-out-able.”

This is what I have learned about commitment. If you are uncommitted, anything will stop you. In other words, if you are 0% committed, you are 100% uncommitted. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would agree that if someone is 50% committed, then he must also be 50% uncommitted, at that time, I probably would have said yes.

But what I know now is that if you are 50% committed, you are 100% uncommitted.

But what someone who is 99% committed? I can tell you with great confidence that someone who is 99% committed is also 100% uncommitted. You are either all in or all out. This is perhaps the biggest key in keeping your resolutions - no matter what they are. You must commit – you must resolve – to keep them. No matter what.

In the world there are dangerous setbacks to our commitments. They're called “excuses.” Excuses can undermine all kinds of progress. The only thing worse than an excuse is a good excuse. 

When I committed to do 10,000 steps a day back at the end of 2016, I had no idea what was in store for me in December 2017. It was the weekend before Christmas and I apparently decided to show off a unique talent. I decided to pass not one, but two, kidney stones at the same time. These two stones essentially created a log jam in my ureter, so I was scheduled for surgery the next morning.

How can you have surgery and get 10,000 steps in the same day? Remember, when you become committed, everything is figure-out-able. So, while I was waiting to be admitted to the hospital at 2 a.m., I started walking the halls of the hospital. When I got up the next morning, I grabbed my IV pole and started walking the halls. In fact, by the time I headed down to surgery, I had more than two-thirds of my steps for the day.  Then came the hard part. Getting that last third after surgery. I was not feeling all that great, needless to say. But after I was discharged, I found myself on the treadmill that night to get my remaining steps. It was not fast, but it absolutely got done! 

New Year’s resolutions are very much a leadership exercise, an example of leading yourself. If you are anything like me, you will quickly agree that you are the most difficult person to lead. But you absolutely can. Find a simple objective, get a plan to make it happen, and then commit, resolve, make up your mind, and make it happen.  Cause once you become 100% committed, you will become 100% unstoppable.

Have a great 2022!

Until next time -

Jesse McCullough, PharmD

Connect with Jesse on LinkedIn


More Blog Posts in This Series

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds