Ugh! I hate New Year resolutions! Personally, I try not to make any, and for years I have actually tried to dissuade my clients from making them. Surprising isn’t it? But, not really if you consider this…
Every year millions of people set out to make New Year resolutions in the hopes that the nascent year will somehow motivate them to reach their dreams and follow through on goals they have failed to realize in the past. Buoyed by the idealism of a new beginning they set forth and proclaim to themselves and others that this will be the year they will lose that unwanted fat, be more productive at work, take on that hobby or passion they have been putting off, or live within their budget. By February over a third of them will have given up on their resolutions and less than a quarter will still be standing strong by the end of the year; and this, ladies and gentlemen is why I hate New Year resolutions!
[bctt tweet=”Making a resolution that is too general, impersonal or doesn’t tap in to who you are is a sure way of losing motivation. “]
1. They are doomed to fail:
I hate them because they are more often than not doomed to fail and because, as we make them, most of us are either consciously or unconsciously aware of that fact. This mind set is the first reason resolutions are rarely attained. Expect to fail and you shall. Not only that, but fail and run the risk of feeling like you are incapable of success, which will then interfere with other goals – that kind of learned helplessness can be crippling.
2. They are impersonal:
I hate them because more often than not people just throw out some basic, general and ill defined goal. It’s either they have been pursuing for years – without success mind you – or one that seems right because everyone and their mother has also made it.
Making a resolution that is too general, impersonal or doesn’t tap in to who you are is a sure way of losing motivation. To stay motivated you have to actually care about the outcome, how else are you going to keep yourself moving along when things get hard or unpleasant?
It’s why I always start with the insight piece when I coach clients. Too often we forget to re-evaluate who we are and where we stand on certain issues. We make choices based on outdated information, basing current decisions on values and goals that matters years ago, but not so much now. Know this, development doesn’t magically stop when you turn 18; just like a pre-schooler and a teenager have different objectives and interests so do a 26 year old and a 35 year old. So why do we continue to make resolutions and goals based on old principles?
I want to make something clear, I am a huge fan of change. I think that any time of year you feel inspired to make necessary changes in your life should be celebrated; if that is January 1st then great!”
3. They are not goals:
Speaking of goals, another reason I hate resolutions is that they are not really goals. They are often just hollow promises or declarations made with little to no plan for how they will be executed. No wonder people fail at them!
You can’t simply declare “in 2015 I will be healthier” and magically lose excess body fat, improve flexibility and strength and introduce healthy eating in your life the next day. For a resolution become a reality you’ll need to break it down into smaller steps, operationalizing those goals and come up with a realistic plan of action, all the while addressing potential barriers and set-backs. That’s a ton of work, are you actually doing it?
I want to make something clear, I am a huge fan of change. I think that any time of year you feel inspired to make necessary changes in your life should be celebrated; if that is January 1st then great! I also think that you should be successful in the changes you resolve to make, which means you should go beyond stating a resolution to setting a goal. Feel free to share your goals with others, in the form of new year resolutions if that makes you happy, but go beyond that if you actually intend to make good on them.
For anyone who is planning to make a resolution in the next week I would recommend taking a minute or 60 to figure out what truly matters to them, and then to set goals that are in line with those needs. I would also recommend they think long and hard about why they haven’t yet made the changes they are resolving to make, so they can anticipate and remove barriers.
Go ahead, grab your copy of the Focus Map – it’s the same tool I used and all Life in Focus Clients use to define what’s right for them and actually create goals that are meaningful, realistic and will improve their lives. If you’re going to make resolutions, might as well do it right! Just click on the image below to make 2016 start the right way for you.