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Who Needs New Year's Resolutions? Try Anti-Resolutions to Start 2013 Right

By DNAinfo Staff on January 1, 2013 10:18am

 Resolutions often fail, but if you can find what motivates you, you can reach your goals more easily.
Resolutions often fail, but if you can find what motivates you, you can reach your goals more easily.
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By Lindsay Davis

Special to DNAinfo.com New York

NEW YORK CITY — The odds of successfully carrying out your New Year’s resolutions hovers at a meager 20 percent, according to studies, thanks to a host of self-defeating habits that linger with us from one year to the next.

Yet, come Jan. 1, you feel pressure to pull out that pen and paper (or, if you’re like me, load up a PowerPoint and fill it with positive images and S.M.A.R.T. goals) and vow that this year will be different, once and for all.

Anti-resolutionists do not go near such behavior. They refuse, vehemently, to get swept up by the riptide of resolution-setting zealots and the boom of New Year’s themed products, services and ad campaigns.

 If you can break tasks down to the smallest component, you can start to beat procrastination, says life coach Emiliya Zhivotovskaya.
If you can break tasks down to the smallest component, you can start to beat procrastination, says life coach Emiliya Zhivotovskaya.
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Some even mock it with humor, like New York-based actress Darlene Heller, when she tweeted “I resolve this year to like oatmeal. #resolutions."

Is there a middle way that can appeal to both sides of a polarized populace facing the dawn of 2013?

Yes, if you ask Jazz Biancci, a New York-based author and life coach who suggests pursuing self-transformation without the pressure of strict, tough resolutions. 

“If you want to create a new lifestyle, it’s about giving yourself more love, not changing your breakfast to grapefruit and yogurt,” she said. “Think about your New Year Evolution.”

That has a nice ring, doesn't it?

Here are five achievable ways to help you evolve in 2013, while avoiding the trap of resolutions that fall by the wayside.

New Year Anti-Resolution No. 1: Rejuvenation

Holiday shopping, travel, party-hopping, heavy drinking, ice skating, small talk, family time and a New Year’s Eve celebration may all be fun, but the sum total is exhausting.  

Remember seven to eight hours of sleep? Spend a few quiet nights curled up with a novel or Netflix to rejuvenate your weary system.

By restoring your energy with something as simple as rest and down time before attempting to accelerate, you set yourself up for greater success down the road.

New Year Anti-Resolution No. 2: Motivation

Before attempting any task, know what motivates you.

“One size does not fit all,” said positive psychology-based life coach Emiliya Zhivotovskaya of The Flourishing Center.

When it comes to cultivating and maintaining your inner resolve, Zhivotovskaya suggests you ask yourself two simple questions: “What is it about this that's important to me?" and "How does it serve my greater life purpose and fit into the plan in my life?”

Answer that and you will be able to keep yourself involved in anything for the long haul, she says.

New Year Anti-Resolution No. 3: Contribute

Having a philanthropic mindset extends into all aspects of life, from doing community service to finding your life work and sense of purpose.

What better way to leave the rat race than by thinking of what you can give instead of what you can get? Out of contribution comes connection, says one study in the 2011 Journal of Social Psychology, which showed that by developing compassion for another person you increase the ability to give it to yourself.

A positive return is guaranteed.

New Year Anti-Resolution No. 4: Bye Bye Procrastination

Who do you think is more stressed, the person doing their taxes in January or the one feverishly filing e-File extensions in April? (Full disclosure: I’m the latter and it’s very anxiety provoking.)

“One of the main reasons people procrastinate is because the task seems daunting,” says Zhivotovskaya, “and the way to break out of procrastination is to break it down to the smallest component that you can take action.”

Get a jump on your 2012 taxes. Make all your doctors appointments for the entire year in advance. When it comes to your health, any little thing you’ve been meaning to get checked out (i.e. a long overdue mammogram), take the time now to get it looked at by a professional.

New Year Anti-Resolution No. 5: Additions

Sometimes, it's more fulfilling to add something to your life rather than taking something away.

According to a 2011 New England Journal of Medicine study that looked at weight loss among 120,000 men and women, it was more effective to focus on adding certain foods to a person’s diet — namely vegetables, whole grains, nuts, fruits and yogurt — to accomplish weight loss over a four-year period rather than taking foods away.

The same principle works if you want to lighten up emotionally. Don't think about taking away negativity. Consider adding a gratitude practice for levity. Try adding more laughter by way of comedy shorts and funny friends. The focus could help stamp out any winter blues and set you in the right path for 2013.