New Year Resolutions

Here we are, January 15th.  Time to stop and take a breath now that the new year is steadily underway.

Something I noticed recently is that there has been a lot of talk and media coverage about setting new year resolutions. The debate appears to be about whether to set them or skip them altogether.  As I read through the coverage, I am disappointed with the general negativity surrounding new years resolutions this year. It seems like a bad choice to be so negative right off the starting block.

To me, whether or not someone sets a resolution in January isn’t really all that important.  Who wouldn’t want to lose 20 lbs, exercise at top speed daily and save $20,000 this year.  I get it, resolutions have a bad reputation for being unattainable for many people, discouraging them from even trying. But as I see it, the problem with resolutions isn’t that people are weak. It is that we set unreasonable goals for ourselves. So, what is a person to do? Try this approach:

  • Don’t go it alone-  select someone with similar goals and a positive attitude to help you along.  This may be a friend, colleague or hired professional in the area you wish to improve upon.
  • Manage your time reasonably- take immediate action on your steps.  Don’t let excuses get in your way.  Make appointments, phone calls and other touch points a priority.
  • Have a specific plan-  write down very specific goals and the individual steps you need to take to achieve the goal.
  • Keep it visible- place reminders in your calendar at regular increments to remind you of the specific actions you need to undertake.
  • Limit how much you plan to do-  it is better to do one thing well than give up on everything.
  • Keep track and reward success-  no matter how small your incremental success is, take a moment to enjoy it and reward yourself accordingly.
  • Be accepting of yourself- we are only human.  If you mess up, get back on your feet and start over.  Don’t give up because you mess up.

Resolutions needn’t be the bad guy.  Behavioral changes take time and persistence, not will power.  Keep it small and manageable.  Once you attain a goal, immediately set an other to build upon that goal.  Maintain the effort you put into something and it will eventually become a habit.

Happy New Year!