I am probably in the minority on this one, but I always chuckle at the idea of the “New Year’s resolution”. To each their own, but resolutions never appealed to me. I can honestly say that never once, in my lifetime – have I made one resolution.
But we all know what everyone thinks, New Year’s means a new start! And January 1 is a good way to start off the year positively. Concepts like losing weight, quitting something (smoking, drinking, etc), or exercising more are most common. In fact, 40-45% of Americans make at least one new years resolution each year.
Despite the good intentions, facts don’t lie. Only 4% are successful in carrying out these resolutions, but 96% of people fail. That’s a big disconnect!
New year’s resolutions inherently have procrastination built into them. If you think about it, setting a January 1st date to implement changes implies that we will only begin to make changes once that date arrives (as opposed to doing it NOW). Where is the logic in that? We treat the new year as if it holds some magical powers that will implement the changes we want.
Clearly, this is not true. To me, there is nothing really special about January 1st.
Now, I am goal-oriented, fairly disciplined, and a “no-excuse” kinda guy. But at the end of the day, I don’t beat myself up over things. I am healthy, but sometimes I splurge. I set lofty goals, however I don’t get deflated if I fall short. I don’t always win, but feel solace knowing I made a good effort.
Obviously these New Year’s Resolutions are a little pet peeve of mine. So I wanted to get some things OFF MY CHEST that can possibly help others in becoming a better version of themselves. If this helps at least one person reading this, I will consider it a win!
Alternatives to New Year’s Resolutions
Do small things with great intention. Sometimes I go to the gym and really don’t feel like working out. Then I remind myself that I am only there for a short period of time, and this is potentially the only chance this week that I have to do a particular set of exercises. I then realize I want to make them count…I don’t want to sleepwalk through the workout and go home feeling I didn’t give it my best. So, I power through it, as if it’s potentially my last workout ever. I make those daily moments matter.
Set goals that are attainable and ideally in writing. I don’t have a problem with “aiming high”, but at the same time I think we need to make goals that are achievable. None of this “I want to live life to the fullest”. If you want to lose 20 lbs, focus on losing 1lb a week and track it. If you want better relationships with people, write down who those people are and start by being nicer to them. If you want to save 20% of your income, write down exactly what needs to happen in order for that to be the outcome. Got me?
Getting better means discipline, not just an annual statement. And it’s ongoing. So, if you say you are going to do something – then do it. In the finance world, many people claim to want to get their financial house in order. So then do it. Don’t be the person who doesn’t “walk the walk”.
Here’s another thing: shift your mindset. Have a positive mental attitude every day, even if it seems like it’s you against the world. Each and every day you wake up with the ability to make that choice. Do you want to start the day with the score 1-to-0 in your favor, or play from behind? The decision is yours. Adjust your routine if needed.
Be disciplined today and make it count. By getting better today, you’ll see how it adds up over days and weeks and years. It seems obvious but nothing is stopping you from changing your life NOW. You’re the one in charge! And if you fall off track – no problem – just get back on track…quick.
And as we reflect on the past year, which I like to do, I encourage you to not feel guilty by what you didn’t do…or wish you did more of. Instead, build on what you have done and focus on doing it better. Hopefully that next year at this time, you aren’t shaming yourself.
Are you going to be the person who puts their goals on the back burner until the new year, or will you make this Day #1 of your new habit? Here’s one thing I feel confident saying: this year will be just like the last one, if you have the same work ethic. To me, it’s a fairly simple concept.