Chris Wilkinson column: Make a plan, not a resolution

It has been widely reported that about 80 per cent of resolutions fail by February.

By Chris Wilkinson

Happy New Year! (That’s the last time I say that for 11 months.)

Since the page turned to 2019, many of us have thought about and even acted on resolutions in health, finances, relationships, etc. The usual stuff. One survey last year reported that 53 per cent of respondents said their resolution for 2018 was to save money, while 45 per cent wanted to lose weight or get in shape. Sounds typical, right?

And now it’s about that time every new year when resolutions are pretty much forgotten about or given up on. In fact, it has been widely reported that about 80 per cent of resolutions fail by February. And over 90 per cent never get achieved. Only eight to nine per cent of people reach their resolutions. That’s a HUGE attrition rate!

If you want to know why, and you actually want create some improvement in a key area of your life, keep reading.

Most resolutions sound like this:

I want to:

• Lose weight

• Exercise more

• Eat healthier

• Have more money

• Travel more

• Have a better sex life

Based on decades of anecdotal resolution statistics and more recent actual surveys stating a 90 per cent failure rate, I think we can all agree those kinds of statements above don’t work. Too vague. No actual plan.

What does work? Much more specific goals (the exact ‘WHAT’), with the HOW, with specific measured outcomes, with emotion tied to them, and rewards attached at benchmarks along the way as well as at the end. Putting some thought into what obstacles might appear is also helpful.

For example, if I want to lose weight to be in better shape, I should get this specific:

1. I will lose 10 lbs by April 1 by:

• Exercising for 30-45 minutes five days each week — walking outside after dinner with a friend

• Reduce my starchy carbs with dinner

• Have 20-30 grams of protein at breakfast and lunch, as well as dinner

• Have treats only two days/nights per week

• Call my close friend if I feel like quitting on my goal

Further, the goal must have some emotion tied to it. Some pain, if you will.

So I would sit down before I started and also write out why this goal is important to me. And ask myself “why is that important to me” a few levels deep.

And finally, I would make a contract with myself that after I lost the first 5 lbs by mid February, I would get to treat myself to a full body massage at a spa.

Then when I reach my 10 lbs goal by April 1, I get to schedule a fun weekend away (or a special purchase, or a gym membership, or whatever you like).

Lastly, if a bit of effort to go through the process outlined above to achieve real results, not just stated resolutions, isn’t worth it for the goal then either the goal is just not important enough to you, or you just aren’t willing to get there.

So, if you really want to achieve a goal or a dream, do the process above. Be specific. Continually envision yourself already successful with your goal. What does that feel like? Sit with that good feeling a moment.

If you experience a setback, get right back at it while ignoring the negative voice as best you can. If you really want it, go get it! And if you have any questions, ask me.

Chris Wilkinson is the owner/GM for Nurse Next Door Home Care Services for Cowichan and central Vancouver Island. For more info visit or for questions or a free in-home Caring Consult call 250-748-4357, or email

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