The Stupidity Behind New Year’s Resolutions But Why I Make Them Anyway
Another year is ending and another is beginning. I remember as a kid my mom would tell me to enjoy each moment of time because as we got older years flew by faster and faster. Back then, I looked forward to this, I wanted to get older and I wanted Christmas to end and come back around lightening fast. It seemed as if live went by at a snail’s pace.
I didn’t understand what she was talking about, why would I not wish for birthdays to come faster?
Christmas time with my Papaw
Now, I get it.
Is it really just days away from Christmas? How did that happen? Sometimes I feel as if I was just 21 and here I am approaching the big 3-0.
I had so many goals that I kept putting off that I have yet to accomplish for 2013.
You know the ones…
“Oh, I want to do xx, I’ll do it after I finish this. I’ve got plenty of time left.”
Except that I don’t, and neither do you.
At least not if you look at the end of the year as a deadline.
Starting The Year Unresolved
What happens when the ball drops and you look back over the past year to think about what you did and did not accomplish?
Not everyone, but a large majority, will focus on what they didn’t accomplish instead of celebrating their achievements.
For a second they may say:
“Wow, last year I did this awesome thing! Go me.”
But quickly that will fade when they think back to their resolutions and short comings. Even if they accomplished 2 out of 3 resolutions, it’s that 1 failure that will stand out like a sore thumb.
The Problem With Resolutions
Half of Americans will make a resolution in just 1.5 weeks, yet only 8% will accomplish them.
Why? What is it about resolutions that make them so easy to fail at?
–> Resolutions generally aren’t solid, their superficial wants, often times set to fail 3 seconds after the ball has dropped. We’ve been brought up since kids to start the year off with resolutions, whether we really mean them or not.
–> They’re expected of us. And if we make them only because we feel we have to then of course we’re not going to stick to them. We’ve thought them out half hearted and deep down know that they aren’t going to be achieved.
–> Resolutions aren’t goals (at least for many of us), they are desires. And that lies the second problem.
After talking with Dr. Margaret yesterday she really hit the nail on the head when mentioning that to accomplish and stick to something you have to have more than a superficial goal.
Wanting to be a size 4 for a cruise isn’t going to be enough to keep going.
The 92% Failure Rate
Being in the top 8% of resolution success stories is tough. I know I’ve made my fare share of resolutions over the past 29 years and there have been many more failures than successes.
–> Resolutions are made out of expectations, not out of a real desire to change.
–> Resolutions are superficial without any true motivation to keep people going.
–> People make unrealistic goals, and once they don’t see the results they expect give up.
–> People often avoid working on the mental side to stay goal driven, to fight off doubt and to continue working towards their resolutions.
–> People don’t map out how they’ll conquer their goals. They simply wake up and say: “Starting today I’m going to …” Without a map (plan), 99.99% of the time you will not arrive at your destination.
–> People are afraid of change. For many it comes down to wanting to change but being afraid of it. How will life differ once their resolution is achieved? For many this fear leads to the deer in headlights look, and a failure to take the first step towards making something new happen.
Why We Should Make 2014 Resolutions
After all that, I am still behind resolutions. I will still be making them and I encourage you to as well. When done right, resolutions give us personal goals to grow and become stronger, better individuals. No one wants to stay stagnant and resolutions can help propel us ahead.
The only difference is that you and I now have the knowledge to be in that lucky 8% group. We are aware of our weaknesses for resolutions and therefore we know what it takes to make goals that work?
I think it’s also important to remember that just because you didn’t accomplish something in 2013 doesn’t mean you fail, nothing will happen when 12:00 am comes around. Our deadline can be extended and time will continue.
The 8% Success Rate
Okay, so here’s what it’s going to take to make goals that you can accomplish. In that first sentence is your first tip.
–> Make goals not resolutions. Take time to think about what you really want to accomplish this year. And then write down why. Doing so will help to get past the superficial responses that won’t keep you motivated. Dig deep.
“I want to lose 20 pounds”
“I want to fit back into my pre-baby clothes”
“I want to not feel fat”
“I want to have more energy”
“I want to be able to keep up with my kids.”
“I want to be healthy.”
“I don’t want to end up like my parents, on cholesterol and blood pressure medicine.”
Those are just a few examples. But you get the point. Having your reasons laid out in front of you takes a resolution and turns it into a real goal. Things just got real.
–> Don’t come up with resolutions on the spot. When a friend asks what you are going to resolve, don’t come up with something on the spot. Think things through, plan it out and then answer (or keep it to yourself).
–> Map your plan of attack. Remember, one reason for faille is unrealistic goals. Once you have your goals, plan out how you are going to accomplish them. Write out a timeline with a deadline, and write out steps from the start to the end of how you’ll make it happen. You may need to make some tweaks once you do this as you realize that your initial goal needs more time than you originally expected.
–> Have regular check ins. Have you ever had a resolution and then got busy with life and forgot about it? Have a weekly check-in with yourself to see how things are going. Did you get off track one week? That’s okay, acknowledge it and move forward. One bad week doesn’t mean you failed.
Bottom line, resolutions suck because they’re made half-heartedly and out of feeling of oblige. As much as we say we want something, often we don’t want it bad enough to change leaving us unsuccessful, failed.
But when done right, they can lead to success, growth and empowerment.
–> Do you make resolutions? <–
I am starting to plan mine out this week. I know them but am working on mapping them out for a realistic path to success. I will share some of them on New Years!