The Problem with New Year’s Resolutions
Posted by Dr. Del | January 12, 2012
Most of us are usually very excited about the start of the New Year and rightfully so. With a new year come all kinds of new possibilities. You get to erase all the challenges and failures of the past year and start fresh with a new attitude and new perspectives. That’s a very good thing. There is one thing that I usually discourage my clients from doing, however, and that is making New Year’s Resolutions. Here’s why.
A resolution is nothing more than a wish. To resolve to lose weight or to be better with your finances are wishes without commitments. Resolutions are just too vague and nonbinding. Most people never go any further than to resolve to do something because a resolution is not a vehicle of creation. There is no time frame by which to accomplish anything specific. In fact, one of the biggest problems with resolutions is that they never get to the next step of being a specific goal.
The first principle of creation is that you have to know exactly what you want. Yes, the more specific you are the easier it will be to come up with a plan, execute your plan, assess how well your plan is working and make the necessary adjustments. This is a goal setting process, not a resolution.
Instead of just making a resolution this year, why not take it a step further. Ask yourself what is it that you would really like to accomplish? If it’s weight loss, how much weight would you like to lose? Why is that important to you? What will losing the weight give you that you don’t already have? How will you feel when you’ve lost the weight? Why is that feeling important to you?
It’s important to clearly visualize and experience exactly what you look like, what you’re feeling and all the emotions that accompany your success at the onset of your new journey. The more emotionally invested you are with the results you seek, the greater the probability that you will do whatever it takes to reach your goal.
This brings us to the next important step in the creation process, your plan. It’s unlikely that you will succeed at anything without a clear plan of action. I say unlikely because there are those few highly self-motivated people who get things done just by getting started and having a clear goal in mind. For most people, however, this is not the case; they need a clear plan of action.
Not only do you need a clear plan of action, you also need a plan for what you’re going to do when you’ve lost your motivation. How are you going to proceed when you just don’t feel like exercising, following your meal plan, sticking to your budget or doing the other important action items that you have identified as the necessary path forward? What will you do when the motivation wanes? If you can figure this out ahead of time, your success will be imminent.
As you can see, making a resolution does not address the many facets of the creation process. For this reason, I encourage you to sit down and think carefully about what you want to accomplish. What is most important to you? How do you want to look and feel this time next year? How do you want to spend your most precious and scarce resource, time?
These are the questions you need to be asking because your life depends on the answers. What you end up with at the end of the year is a result of what you spend your time doing throughout the year. So doesn’t it behoove you to figure that out now? Not tomorrow; not next month, now.
So instead of making a resolution to lose weight, take charge of your finances or change some other self-defeating behavior, first figure out what your life is all about, which will help determine what important activities you would rather spend your time doing this year. This brings us right back to the beginning, to the most important question of all: “What are the things that you value most in your life?” If you first figure that out, the rest will be easy.
Until next time, experience, share, grow! And remember, motivation is what gets you started, habit is what gets you results.
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