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It is that time of year again. January 1st is upon us, and most of us will be making our resolutions to do something to improve our lives. We may resolve to lose weight or pay off our debts or take up a meditation practice. All those are admirable resolutions. However, we often can’t seem to make our New Year’s Resolutions stick, even if they are for our own benefit.

This year, I suggest that you craft a resolution that you can stick with. The hardest resolutions to keep are the ones which require you to do something. For instance, resolving to go to the gym every single day is hard. Life gets in the way. You or your kids can get sick, or you can just have a long day at work. Then, suddenly, going to the gym is no longer feasible.

The best and easiest resolutions to keep are the ones in which you give up a bad habit. Not doing something is easy. It isn’t time consuming. By definition, you aren’t consuming any time. Rather, giving up a bad habit requires only one thing – self-control.

For instance, this year I am giving up getting my news from the Internet. I already started, and I can assure you that I have freed up a lot of my time. The problem with getting your news from the Internet is this – the Internet is a rabbit hole. Once you go down it, it is hard to get out. You read a story about Yemen, and then you want to more fully understand the conflict there. So, you read about Saudi Arabia. And then you have an onslaught of stories about their issues. And pretty soon, 30 minutes have gone by, and you haven’t accomplished a single, worthwhile thing.

My resolution is to now get my news from the newspaper – yes, they still exist! – or from news magazines. When you read the paper or a magazine, your story ends on the page. You can’t “click” and keep going down the rabbit hole. More importantly, if you read a reputable paper or magazine, you are more likely to get fact-based reporting. Unfortunately, the Internet tends to showcase people’s opinions rather than the facts.

Of course, not getting my news from the Internet isn’t easy for me. It is a bad habit of mine, and it takes a great deal of self-control for me to not click on my favorite news outlet. But not doing something pointless frees up a lot of my time. I now have time for more valuable activities, like writing, or practicing my flute, or reading books, or studying foreign languages.

We all have bad habits that we know we need to give up. Some habits are harmless, like spending too much time watching television. But some habits are really harmful to us. Smoking, overspending, and overeating are all bad habits that truly hurt us. Giving up those activities can only improve your life.

The only way to give up a bad habit is to have mental fortitude. Some of us were blessed with more mental fortitude than others. But we all have it. Mental fortitude is like a muscle. You have to use it and exercise it. As a result, if I lack self-control in one area of my life, I likely will lack self-control in other areas because I haven’t developed that “mental fortitude muscle.”

For instance, if I give up the habit of smoking, I will develop my mental fortitude muscle. Then giving up other bad habits becomes a whole lot easier. Pretty soon, doing the right thing, even when it may be uncomfortable, becomes simple for me. When I exercise control over myself in one area of my life, it is much easier to control myself in other areas.

As we come upon the new year, I encourage you to make a great New Year’s Resolution. I encourage you to give up a habit that is holding you back in some way. It may be harming your health, hurting your relationships with others, or simply wasting your time. Develop your mental fortitude muscle! Resolve to end a harmful habit, and see your life improve in ways that you could not even imagine.

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