The word “resolution” means “a resolve or determination” which takes on a bit of a negative connotation. I tried to break the word down to “re” and “solution” but the first word that came to my mind was “resist”. Even words like “reinvent”, “reinvigorate”, “reinvest”, “results”, “revise”, and “re-examine” next to the word “solution” did not do it for me. I started then to think about why you should not even bother making New Year’s Resolutions at all.
1. Bad time of year – For many this is just not a good time of year to be setting goals. Personally I prefer September when the new school year starts. I guess I have that “new yellow pencil mentality” and remember the days of new backpacks, folders, etc. and the promises of being in a new grade and learning new things. For others, it could be bonus and raise time, birthdays, or other significant dates.
2. Too big ambitions – Lots of New Year’s Resolutions are just too big or ambiguous. As an example if you say you are going to lose weight that is not going to happen. Instead you have to create baby steps (or turtle steps one of my friends says) to get to the ultimate goal plus you need to have some sort of measurement system in place with metrics – I am going to lose 5 pounds a month by cutting 300 calories a day and working out three times a week. In addition, these goals need to fit into the rest of your life, including such areas as personal growth, body, money, friends and family, significant other, physical surroundings, and career. A final note is that there should be an element of fun in all of this as well.
3. Set yourself up for failure – Women tend to do this more often than men because we try to be do everything perfectly. A great quote I read recently said “the most delicious times are often the messiest.” How many times did you do something pretty good but berated yourself for one little thing? To counter this, watch your words and stop getting trapped in someone else’s stories/expectations. It is important to forgive ourselves and others as well. A vision board may be helpful here to keep your vision of your goals on track.
4. No support system and no reward system – When you set goals, do you figure out who is going to be your supporters? They could be family, friends, colleagues, your coach, your mentor, or even a support group. It is important to have some people be your cheerleaders and spirit you forward. I also am a true believer in rewarding yourself after each baby step is completed. Referring to the weight goal, a reward could be a manicure once you have signed yourself up for a gym membership and attended one class.
5. Energy drainers/time wasters – I had a client who was starting a zumba dance class business. She already worked a full time job and had some other commitments so adding this to her schedule seemed a bit overwhelming. She started tracking her hours and realized she spent 17 hours a week going to the gym which included the drive and showering afterwards. She decided to cut back a bit and was able to schedule zumba classes in its place which was still exercising. Her stress level went down considerably. So track your hours and see where time is being lost. Also identify those people that may drain you emotionally which makes you tired so you do not want to accomplish your task.
½. Not appreciating what you do have – We are programmed through media, etc. to have it all but rarely do you see the ways to get there. Enjoy the journey and stay present (which is another word for “gift”) as much as possible. Be around positive people and places and realize that you can’t change the past and you can’t totally predict the future so smell the roses for now. Albert Camus, a French author, journalist, and philosopher, so perfectly explains this in his statement – “real generosity toward the future lies in giving all to the present.”
In conclusion, a resolution we should all follow continuously is “clean your closets”. Not just your physical closets (donate, recycle, use, or throw out) but also your mental ones. Clear out the baggage and junk in your head and your heart and it will be easier to go forward. G