Well, New Year’s Day has passed and we’re already in our fourth week of January. All the “I’m going to get in shape” people have quit going to the gym. Budgets have been broken. And the fast food restaurants are glad you’re back, again. If you’re one of the many people who has already given up on your new year’s resolutions, don’t get frustrated, you’re in good company. Statistics show about 80% of the population that started the year full of vision and excitement to change their lives have already given up on their resolutions. We’re in the boat together! We made promises to ourselves at the end of the year based on the perspective that only an ending can bring—the perspective of what we’d wished we’d done more or less of in the previous twelve months. Then January hits and you look forward at the next twelve, and consider if you can actually carry out those promises through the year. And you’re either overwhelmed, or still resolute, depending on the task ahead.
So how is it that we make the same self-discoveries every January, but still spend the end of December planning how the next year will be different? The holidays bring messy schedules, regrettable eating choices, overspending, and lots of other things we don’t normally do. As for me, I spend December saying to myself, “Ok, but once the Holidays are over, I’m getting this under control.” And with that in the back of our heads, the upheaval of the holidays steels our resolve to make up for it. I think for many of us, those are the things that turn into our New Year’s resolutions.
But why is it so hard resolutions? Consider these reasons:
- Resolutions are often based on negative feelings rather than positive
Even ones that are made with the idea of self-improvement are often made based on something we dislike, or we want removed from our lives, or that we regret.
Consider your resolutions—could you frame them differently?
Resolve based on what you want to gain rather than what you want to get rid of, thinking forward rather than looking behind, and you’ll find more inspiration.
- Resolutions are often too big
Everyone has a friend that promises every year to do something huge like start a heavily restrictive diet, budget, etc. For the listener, it’s easy to hear when a resolution is too big. But the momentum of the new year makes it seem totally possible for the resolver. Once that momentum is spent, they’re back to how things have always been.
Are you shooting for the moon?
The best thing you can do is consider the “why” beneath the resolution—what’s at the core? What is it you actually want? When you figure that out, you know what to actually tackle.
- Resolutions are abandoned at the first sign of failure
Especially when we make truly huge resolutions, failure is inevitable. But our tendency is to keep strictly to our plan as long as possible, then fail gloriously. And when failure happens, it feels like all the games kids play at recess where one false move and they’re “out.” It’s over, we think. I lost.
Plan your recovery
If we know ahead of time that at some point we’ll drop the ball, we have the advantage of planning ahead how to get back at it and mentally preparing ourselves not to give up.
So, how are you doing with your resolutions? How can you re-evaluate them without giving up? What will you do when you slip? Take the time now to think it over, and it won’t blind side you when it happens.
Victory Starts Here!
Marc Kitsko – Lead Coach and Consultant