So…Did you make any New Year's resolutions? If you didn't why not? If you did, how are you doing?

So…Did you make any New Year's resolutions? If you didn't why not? If you did, how are you doing?

According to a Marist Poll from late last year:

· 47% of men were likely to make a New Year's resolution for 2018.

· 53% of women were likely to make a New Year's resolution for 2018.

· 63% of those age 18-29 were likely to make a New Year's resolution for 2018.

· 68% of those who made resolutions in 2017 kept at least part of their promise.

I am a big proponent of change and personal improvement generally, and of New Year's resolutions in particular. However, many people are afraid of New Year's resolutions because they are afraid of living with failure. Statistics like these are telling:

Length of Resolutions:

Resolutions maintained through first week - 72.6 %

Past two weeks - 68.4 %

Past one month - 58.4 %

Past six months - 44.8 %

Indeed, these statistics bear out two things The first is that the usual understanding of "New Year's resolution" is along the lines of "I will always (or never) do thus and such," and secondly they show that most of the time such resolutions DO end in failure. I learned a long time ago how to deal with fear of failure in a class on Basic Life Support.

At the start of the class we were told, "Failure is not an option this class…There are only two options, Success and Quitting, because we will stay with you as long as it takes for you to be successful." That struck me profoundly, because I saw that I could apply that to most things in life. When I try something, I either succeed or I do not, but almost always I can - if I want - try again. I am free to hold that I have not failed, just because I have not yet succeeded.

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, "How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?" Edison replied, "I didn't fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.” No one ever needs to live in fear of failure, as long as you are alive and have not given up. Of course it is true that you may die before you succeed, but you still are not LIVING WITH failure!

My advice is to no longer think of marking the event of New Year's eve by making a resolution and then expecting to either do it perfectly or fail in your resolution. Instead, consider that the resolution is the beginning of a process whose outcome cannot be judged until the next New Year's eve. Besides taking the focus off of January and putting it on to December as the time to judge the results, there are three or four other things I advise people to consider so their resolutions are more effective. The first is to always describe the change in terms of DOING, even if it is to stop doing something.

For example, in 1994 I resolved to, "do whatever it takes to not smoke that first cigarette." Write down the resolution, tell people about it, and tell them that December 31 is when the results will be judged. Finally, feel free to add a New Year's resolution, or modify it at any time during the year. If you want to have the satisfaction of keeping resolution perfectly for an entire year, you can make the same resolution next year…starting early improves your chances for success like nothing else can.

Perhaps the most important of the common resolutions has to do with stopping smoking. If you want to quit smoking then resolve this year to become continuously abstinent before the end of 2018, and become willing to do whatever it takes to not smoke that first cigarette. It worked for me in 1994!

Dr. Bradly Bundrant is the interim administrator of Central Texas Nursing and Rehab in Ballinger. The Health and Wellness Coalition of Runnels County is comprised of health care professionals throughout the county. Members meet on the first Thursday of the first full week of the month.

Dr. Bundrant is the chief of staff at Ballinger Memorial Hospital. He is a member of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Runnels County which is comprised of health care professionals throughout the county. Members meet on the first Thursday of the first full week of the month.