A New Year’s Resolution Contract is different from contracts you make with other people. Legal contracts have penalties if they aren’t followed. A resolution contract is an agreement with only one person, you. If you don’t follow through, you aren’t cheating your business partner, you’re only cheating yourself. Signing this contract is a way to further instill the goal you have. It can help you get motivated and when you’re thinking about quitting, will put you back on track.
Section 1: In this section, state what you want to do and how you’re going to do it. Be very precise. It might be easy to stick to your plan the first few weeks but after that, you don’t want to interpret your goals to be any easier than what you started off with. Don’t forget to include a realistic time frame.
Good Example: I want to lose 10 pounds in 2 months. My plan is to join a gym, workout at least 4 times a week for 1 hour a day. I also plan to start a calorie restricted diet and eat no more than 2000 calories per day.
Bad Example: I want to lose weight this year.
A good statement doesn’t need to be long. It does need to set the framework of your plan.
Section 2: In this section, you’ll state all the ways you can cheat yourself. List excuses you can make, loopholes in section 1 and anything else you can think of that can derail your resolution.
Good Example: I know I usually get hungry at night and eat a chocolate bar. Starting now, after dinner but before bed I’ll eat a healthy snack (salad, tuna, sandwich) instead of a candy bar. Also, when I’ve joined a gym in the past, I come home after work and feel too lazy to workout. From now on, I’ll take my workout clothes with me and go to the gym directly after work.
Bad Example: Instead of eating candy at night I’ll eat something healthier.
You need to be complete and honest in all the ways you will cheat. Just like in section 1, you need to be very exact in the language you use.
Section 3: In this section, you get to state how you’ll reward yourself once you reach your goal. You can go out to eat or treat yourself with something you’ve always wanted (TV, game, vacation). This can be anything you want and doesn’t have to be expensive.
Good Example: Once I lose 10 pounds, my family and I will take a vacation to the beach for a weekend.
Bad Example: Once I lose 10 pounds, I’ll go to the grocery store and buy all the unhealthy foods I’ve been missing out on.
You don’t want your reward to interfere with your goal in anyway. Eating somewhere nice is totally different than binging on junk food.
Section 4: This is the most important section. Here, you’ll sign a commitment with yourself. You can also have someone witness for you but it’s optional. Here, you’re agreeing to continue on the path you’ve laid out in section 1. You’ll stay focused and determined until you’ve reached your goal. If you need motivation, take out this contract and read what you wrote weeks earlier when you were excited and energized about your decision. You won’t let a few bumpy days dictate your entire life but most importantly this contract states that you’ll never give up.