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by John Boone | Tue., Dec. 31, 2013 12:10 PM
Jamie Grill Photography/Getty Images
You have [24 - whatever military time it is in your particular time zone] hours left to make your New Year's resolutions will be for 2014. Maybe it's something about dieting. Or your career. Or one of these things people on Twitter have pledged to do.
GOOD LUCK. Resolutions are very exciting now—new year, new YOU!—but, as it goes, most are forgotten as soon as the clock hits midnight. Here is a comprehensive list of how to successfully keep your New Year's resolutions:
1. Don't make any.
Which isn't to say that making resolutions—or any grand plans in life—is bad. You should make expectations for yourself. You should want to improve yourself and your life, etc., so on and so forth.
But ultimately, the easiest way to fail is to have something to fail at. But hey, that's OK!
Why is failing at New Year's resolutions such a big deal? Maybe it's time we all take a different approach to New Year's resolutions. Here is our guide to how we will (try to, really try to) keep our New Year's resolutions:
1. Lower Your Expectations: It's not going to be a new year, new you. Stop putting that kind of pressure on yourself. It's going to be a new year and the same you, but hopefully a little better. You're not going to instantly overhaul your life because the calendar changed. But you can put some changes into effect.
2. Don't Try to Go Cold Turkey: Change takes time. Saying "I'm going to stop doing [so and so]" is the easiest way to fail. Try "I want to do [so and so] less" or "I want to do [so and so] more."
If you say, "I want to stop swearing in 2014" and then wake up tomorrow and say, "Oh f--k, I'm hungover," you failed. If you say, I want to swear less in 2014, you make it a conscious decision to swear less on a day-to-day basis. So that by 2015, you're saying, "Oh biscuits, I'm hungover!"
3. Do Things You Actually Want to Do: Everyone wants to be a little more toned, a little richer, a little less messy, a little less drunk. But don't change things about yourself because you think you should. Don't give up carbs completely because you think maybe you should lose a pound or two. Carbs are awesome!
And life is way too short to deprive yourself of that chocolate cake, every time, all of the time, because you could be a size 5 instead of a 6. Who cares?! #YOLO (that's the last time we'll say YOLO, hopefully. New year, no YOLO!).
Complacency does not a resolution keep. And that's OK. Be happy with yourself. Be OK with yourself. Or don't! On the flip side, if you're not happy with yourself, make those changes. But you're going to be much more motivated to keep your resolutions if you truly, deeply want to.
(Disregard this point if your health is dependent on making changes you don't want to. Sorry 'bout it!)
4. Do Things For You: This one going hand-in-hand with point #3. A lot of time, resolutions are, "I want to stop doing this" or "I want to do that less." Make fun resolutions for yourself: I want to save up and go to Paris this year. Then, keeping your resolution is the reward!
5. Let Yourself Fail: Because failing is OK. So you said you'd go to the gym four days a week this year and you skipped a week. Don't scrap the resolution because you failed once. Go again next week. Nobody needs to be keeping track of your resolutions and nobody definitely should make you feel guilty if you fall short from time to time. Just try again!
6. Make New Resolutions: If your resolutions aren't working, change them. It's insane to think something you decided in December might still apply in July or September or December of the next year. It might night even apply in February! It doesn't have to be December 30 to make a resolution or two. Adapt them, change them, scrap them and come up with new ones. It's your life.
7. Do This: Make your resolution "To be happier in 2014." We like that one.