Discover what New Year’s Resolutions Do Not Do
A new year it is a fresh start with all the great things that will happen. Well, that is the story we tell ourselves. You see the calendar shows us the promise of a new fresh opportunity but in reality, it is still only a new day. So, before we deep dive into 2017, let us get realistic and explore what most New Year Resolutions not do for us.
Here is my contrarian list for your resolution contemplation.
1. Guarantee success
Just because you create a resolution, it does not guarantee success. It is fine to enter change in a positive way but beware of deluding yourself.
This is the week when many new knee supports are bought and ankle blister packs are sold for the new fresh runners. They quickly understand that running without a good warm up, in old trainers and poor socks is almost like asking for pain and disappointment.
Top Tip: Think carefully if you are prepared to experience setbacks.
2. Focus on the process
Success is 100% action. The process you take to achieve your resolution is as important as the resolution itself. If you choose the wrong timing, method, systems and process then there is little or no point in creating the goal to start with.
Top Tip: Invest the time, effort and be flexible but determined with a process.
3. Give you strength when others give up on their goals
Behavior science shows that we are influenced by other people’s actions. When you see friends, family and members of your new club stop attending the gym or giving up on their goals, it becomes easier for you to copy and do the same.
Top Tip: Develop personal discipline and understand the path to success is your own.
4. Last the whole year
Many resolutions are life changing decisions. They are not limited to the new calendar year, so be prepared to stick with change over the long haul. It is not a question of days, or weeks, it is about a lifestyle change and commitment.
Top Tip: Break down your resolution to smaller achievement steps and celebrate them once attained.
5. Stop you from being marketed to in the same way
The power of marketing is amazing, it can be your friend and own worst enemy. Just because you have changed your normal browsing habits online from cookies to vegan recipes does not mean all the marketing algorithms have caught up with you yet.
Indeed the head of brands are prepared to be tempted and not advertise their cookies in the first week, expect to be marketed and tempted shortly after.
Top Tip: Use social media notification blockers to reduce the type of information were branded to you. Understand you are being marketed to.
6. Prepare you for the reaction of friends/family/colleagues
Just because you have decided to learn Pawnee language, Aqua Yoga, run a 10K or start a new online side business, does not mean your circle of normal friends will share the same delight or passion. Indeed, some may project their own insecurities on you and provide negative or indifferent reactions.
Top Tip: Understand this is your New Year’s Resolution and no one else’s. Take the positive comments and ignore the negative ones (but be open enough to enquire why they say or feel what they do).
7. Have a plan B or C
Resolutions are often single actions, often people feel like a failure if their original goal is not achieved. However life throws many curve balls to us all.
Be prepared to be flexible with your methods and even results if needed to move your life forward.
Top Tip: Remain determined and committed to improvements, understand that changing plans may be needed. For example: Due to finances changing a planned trip around the world to an extended vacation in Africa is still a great improvement than not going anywhere!
8. Explain WHY you want it
One of the key elements to long term success is personal motivation. Resolutions such as “go to the gym more often” do not go far enough to explain why you want to or should. This will often mean your resolution becomes wider and more balanced and easier to manage and remain motivated.
Top Tip: Stick to the reasons why you want change and then focus on that.
9. Provide a system of goals, measures
Simply making a statement of an end result is not going to be robust enough for most people. Indeed this is exactly why so many different goal systems exist. A resolution is a great aim and target but requires a support system to create the success.
Top Tip: Select an appropriate goal setting system with regular measures to support your resolution.
10. Remove daily temptation
The toughest thing with change is change itself. If you normally do not do the actions you seek in your new year’s resolution then expect to be tempted to continue with your normal habits and behaviors? Self-determination and discipline does not come easy to everyone so be prepared for a battle of the will!
Top Tip: Understanding the habit loop to manage and avoid temptation.
11. Ensure ALL aspects of life are covered
The most common New Year’s resolutions are skewed into certain parts of our lives. They often reflect an imbalance of how you wish your life should be. By then following these new areas people often find prior maintained parts of their life suffer.
Just ask anyone who has grown from half marathons to becoming an ultra-runner if it has impacted their relationships.
The simple truth and reality is to define the amount of time, quality of time and priority for each part of your life.
Top Tip: Seek clarification of goals and expectations across the main areas of your life: Health, Relationships, Spiritual/Philosophy, Financial, Mastery of skills
12. Work so well if you are over 50
The statistics are against you if you are over 50. Only 14% of people over 50 achieve their New Year’s resolutions compared to 39% for those in their twenties.
Top Tip: Seek goal setting methods to beat these statistics and ensure you are part of their success portion.
13. Help you lose weight at the best time of year to exercise
If you sit and think for a little while, when would be the best time of year to make significant diet change and health in someone’s life? Option A) In the spring with its warmer climate, more opportunity to be outdoors and less seasonal “goodies” on the food shelf or Option B) In the cold dark winter when you are most exposed to catching a cold, slipping on ice and being tempted with 50% off Santa chocolate bars. Well the answer for most is simple, Option A
Top Tip: Be realistic about your personality type and environment you live. If you need to postpone your change to an easier time of year then do it. Just use the delay to prepare for the long term change.
14. Be specific enough
What exactly does “get organized” or “enjoy life to the fullest” or “lose weight” or “spend less and save more” mean? These common New Year’s resolutions are too vague. It is better to be more specific with these wide aims and targets. i.e. “Get Organized” becomes “Have a clean desk at work, have no clothes on the floor, dedicate time and tasks to all members of the house and create a chore Rota for the rest of the year. All to be in place by January. If we remain organized with this system then we shall go to the park in July for a picnic”
Top Tip: Use and implement SMARTER goals for your new year’s resolution.
15. Provide confidence during setbacks
When a person embarks on a significant change, setbacks should be expected. If you enter your resolution with pure optimism and do not have the determination to deal with setbacks on the journey then expect an impact to your confidence.
Indeed, many people go on a diet and start to exercise and relapse for a couple of days after a few weeks training. They feel so ashamed that they have “failed” they stop their resolution and blame lack of time etc. This ignores the outstanding success and steps already made.
Top Tip: Be realistic and expect setbacks with your New Year’s Resolution. Review your overall progress and focus on that instead of the best examples shown on social media!
16. Give insights to how impactful they are.
Idea creation is one of the easiest and most popular things we do as humans. However, for every success there are many more failures and setbacks. Creating your resolution without understanding how realistic or impactful they will be is an important phase and step. You just might find extra motivation during this discovery process.
Top Tip: Do not be put off by stretched or seemingly unrealistic goals. Instead, focus on resourcefulness and determination to overcome obstacles along the way.
17. Forgive you.
OK this at first sounds silly but stick with me. A New Year’s Resolution is most often a utopian commitment for improvement. They are mostly absolute terms and expectations.
When people improve their conditions and wellbeing they can still feel a failure as they had not fulfilled their original aim. So, in short the resolutions do not forgive your performance in anyway. They become absolute expectations.
Top Tip: Recognize that any improvement is better than no improvement. Reducing your smoking by 1 a day is better than getting worse or remaining the same. Over time you can use this improvement to motivate you to the next 1 or 2 or 3. Focus on your TREND OF PERFORMANCE as much as the absolute end goal. You may surprise yourself and over achieve, or need a little more time than hoped.
You can guess that I am not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer continual goal setting. However here are the Resolutions I make most years. I make these resolutions with a calendar commitment, i.e. “for 2017”
1) No drinking of alcohol (Not drank for almost 30 years)
2) No taking of leisure drugs (I enjoy life and skydiving as my rush)
3) No smoking (Never smoked)
Let me know your resolutions and comments to my comments and top tips.
Please share this article over one of your social media platforms and have a Happy New Year.
- Written by James Doyle - Founder of JAMSO