Resolutions: We’re Doing It Wrong

It’s 2015! And as with the beginning of any new year, the world is awash in resolutions, goals, and ambitions for the year ahead.

Do you have resolutions, goals and ambitions? Or are you one of those people who has sworn off resolutions because, you know, they don’t really work? I’m fully in favour of new year’s resolutions and goal setting, but I’m also willing to acknowledge that you’re right. According to the data, about 50% of resolutions will be broken before the end of next week. 88% of resolutions will be broken by the end of the year.

But you know what? I don’t really think it’s the resolution’s fault. It’s ours. Because we’re doing it wrong.

So often, we make our resolutions with the idea that we can wake up tomorrow and be a completely different person. But you can’t. You’re going to wake up tomorrow, and you’re still going to be you. You’re going to have the same personality, the same strengths and weaknesses, the same struggles, that you do today.

Having success with your 2015 goals and resolutions requires a bit of a reframing. The goal isn’t to be a better you tomorrow. The goal isn’t even to be a better you throughout the year. The goal is to be a better you by the end of the year. And the latter is much easier than the former. Here’s a few tips to get you started.

  • A resolution should always be tied to a goal. It just doesn’t make sense any other way. Goals provide the why to your resolutions. Fulfilling your resolution of going to the gym every day is going to feel awfully unsatisfactory, unless it’s getting you closer to your goal of losing 15 pounds, or running 5K. Resolutions should build to a final, tangible result, so make sure you know what that is.
  • Goals should always be SMART. Haven’t the other 18 million goal setting articles on the internet already told you that? But seriously, we so often forget this when we get caught up in the idea of #newyearnewyou. So many people set goals to lose weight, eat healthier, or become better at time management, but often, they’re not really setting goals, but simply naming ideals. There’s no action plan, no measurement, no accountability, and this, more often than not, results in, well, no results.
  • Start small. When the end of the year is your goal, you’ve got 365 days to get there. You don’t need to overhaul your entire diet right now. Simply substitute a fruit for the cookie you normally eat with lunch. In a few weeks, start drinking water instead of your normal soda on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The changes add up.
  • Decide who you want to be at the end of the year, and then figure out how you’re going to become that person. What really matters? Do you actually care about losing weight, enough that you really are willing to put in the effort, to actually make changes? Or is this, once again, just an ideal that you dream of? Do you actually want to stop smoking, or are you just making it a resolution because you know that you should?
  • Build room for failure. You weren’t perfect last year, and it’s unlikely you’ll be perfect this year either. Account for the times you’ll mess up in your initial planning. Have strategies ready to go for getting back on the bandwagon. Be prepared to forgive yourself.
  • Remember that ultimate success isn’t always what really matters. Last year, I resolved to write for at least 15 minutes every day. I wasn’t successful- I would estimate that I wrote for 15 minutes maybe half the time, overall. But regardless, I went from writing 2 blog posts in a year to writing 47. From writing 8 pages in my journal to filling almost 100. And that’s a degree of success I’ll take, quite happily.

I could go on and on with tips to help you set proper goals and resolutions, in a way that increases the likelihood you’ll achieve them, but the rest of the internet has already done that. In fact, Sarah K. Peck, this person, and this person, have done a fabulous job, and I encourage you to check out their ideas. But my point, really, is that not setting goals and resolutions because “you’re not going to fulfill them anyway” is a cop-out, so get off your high horse.

And after all this, if you still choose not to set goals or resolutions? Fine, but don’t be surprised when you turn out to be the same person in 2016 that you were in 2014.

Don’t just sit there being lazy and say “resolutions don’t work.” Get up and do what you have to in order to make them work.

Did I change your mind, and you’re now off to write some goals and resolutions? Let me know in the comments! (Because this is a surefire way of ensuring I get no comments)

Featured image by Sarah Kilian on Unsplash

Nicole Crozier

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