It's once again time for you to make a resolution for the New Year.

Frank Talk: The resolution solution

By Frank Mulligan

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It's once again time for you to make a resolution for the New Year.

Or, on the other hand, you could simply ignore the whole thing and order another dozen mozzarella sticks.

But if you're made of sterner stuff and are looking long and hard at self-improvement - and that last dozen mozzarella sticks you ate are just sitting there in your belly like a steel-belted radial - it's time to declare resolutionary war.

You may ask yourself: "How do I go about making resolutions that are not only laudable but are indeed attainable?" Unless, of course, your resolution happens to be: "Stop asking myself stupid questions." Then you appear to be all set.

Provided that's not your resolution, however, it's important to determine just what your resolution should be. It must fit your needs.

For instance, if you've just completed your third marathon in 90 days, cutting back on carbohydrates may not loom all that importantly in your life.

On the other hand, if your entire body must be greased to fit into a standard-sized elevator, it may be time to push away that third helping of potatoes au gratin.

OK, say you've picked that personal weakness or flaw you wish to correct - in my case it's an inability to stop singing the lyrics to "Boogie Oogie Oogie" while colleagues are trying to work - it's now time to set out a battle plan to rid yourself of this albatross.

Many people fail to reach their goals because they run out of steam, unless, of course, their goal involves using less steam in their daily lives.

Motivation is so important, and we all derive motivation from different sources.

You might need a drill sergeant approach where a burly man "gets in your face," and screams things like, "You're a worthless maggot, a worthless maggot!"

Or you might need a tough approach, say something involving electric shocks or blows to the kidneys.

It's important to figure out where you belong on the motivational scale.

Some experts say a useful tool is to learn to love yourself.

Send yourself little gifts, whisper sweet nothings into your own ear and take yourself out once in awhile, somewhere nice - and why not take in a show with yourself? Remember, you're worth it.

Then, when you blow the resolution after a week or two, you've at least made a new, forgiving friend - yourself.

And that friend'll tell you:

There's always next year.

Frank Mulligan is an editor in GateHouse Media New England's Plymouth, Mass., office, and can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.com. This is a classic column, not because it's necessarily any good but because it appeared in a prior edition.