Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? Should you?
New Year’s Resolutions are a big topic each year. They are discussed heavily as soon as Christmas is over and for the first week or two in January.
How often are they talked about in July? Have you ever had a discussion about how you are doing on your New Year’s Resolution mid-year?
I have read that 95% of people who make New Year’s Resolutions do not stick to it after 3 weeks.
Why is this? What is so wrong about New Year’s Resolutions? OK…there is nothing wrong about this annual tradition. I just don’t believe they are the best way to accomplish your goals.
January 1st is set as the date that you will change your life. You decide as of 1/1 you will:
- Exercise 4 times per week
- Eat less sugar
- Read to your children daily
- Volunteer once every two weeks
- Visit your mother once per week
- Read a daily devotion
- Eat out less
- Save $100 per week
- Schedule a weekly date night with your spouse
- Lose 4 pounds per month
- Read 50 books this year
- Learn French
Pick 5 of the above and let me know how you are doing in July. How is this attainable?
Here are my 4 reasons why New Year’s Resolutions are not the best way to accomplish your goals.
There is nothing magical about January 1. I would like you to throw the date of January 1 out the window. I do think it’s smart to step back and reevaluate. Do take the time to think of your goals. You are allowed a fresh start, a new beginning…but there is nothing special about January 1. Why?
What if you have just two simple goals as of January 1. For example: I want to run three times per week and save $50 per week. If by the end of January, you have run three times all month and you have saved nothing since the first week, you are done. This leads me to reason #2.
You failed. You get one shot. Because you couldn’t even make it one month, you have now failed. (How is that for a confidence booster?) Obviously you are not a failure…but such an emphasis is put on January 1st that it seems so. It’s easy to get down on yourself because you didn’t succeed. You didn’t even last one month. It’s easy to now just forget it all.
You fail? You now have a free pass until next January 1. You can now set this into the back of your brain and don’t have to think of your New Year’s Resolutions until when? Yes, January 1 next year. You no longer have the push to reevaluate.
So many resolutions equals a cluttered mind. How can you wrap your head around 5 resolutions that first week of January? If you have to focus on eating clean, working out, saving money, volunteering AND learning French all during that first week, how will you succeed? If you have multiple goals that do not come easy for you, what is the likelihood that you will be able to accomplish them all at once?
What do I suggest?
Goal setting or changing your habits doesn’t need to be an annual thing. Creating a broad goal or theme for the year may be beneficial, but it needs to be broken down into smaller timeframes. Quarterly, monthly, weekly…it depends on the goal you want to set or the habit you want to create.
Originally published 12/28/14. Updated 1/1/20.