We do it every year.
We make a list of resolutions.
- I will lose weight
- I will stop smoking
- I will read more
- I will exercise more
Of your last new year’s resolutions, how many did you actually accomplish? If you’re like most people, probably not many, if any at all (a statistic I saw said that 92% of resolutions are ignored, almost half by February). Realizing that you didn’t even complete one can be depressing. This year don’t be depressed because of past “failures”.
The problem isn’t you, it’s resolutions.
Resolutions are abstract ideas we get in our minds that we think we’ll be able to realize by year’s end. Abstract is nice to look at, but it doesn’t mean anything.
Instead of making new year’s resolutions, we should be making lifetime decisions.
Part of the problem with the resolutions is sometimes we bite off more than we can chew. Then, when we don’t finish it, our confidence slowly begins to get chipped away. Some people just give up altogether. Others just wait until next year. My problem always was starting on Monday, being off track by Wednesday, and deciding that week was shot and I’d start again Monday. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Instead of making resolutions, let’s “resolve” to make decisions for the new year
Take a few minutes if you haven’t already, and write down the resolutions you were planning to make anyway, but instead of a list like I wrote above, write them with the words “I have decided to..” Leave yourself some space between each one. Now write out a specific plan on how you will achieve that goal. You have now begun to uncover the secret.
The final step, and probably the difference, is to set measurable and realistic goals for yourself. How do you know whether or not you’re on the right course if you haven’t decided where the checkpoints are?
It’s all about semantics. You could use the word “resolution”, but we all know the connotation it has. If you make decisions this year, plan them out – and follow your plan, and you will be successful. You might even surprise yourself.
If you haven’t guessed, I have decided to lose weight. That’s why I started this blog. I know I will, because I first made a decision, then I made a plan, and I have measurable goals. I’m also being flexible and forgiving enough to realize that I might need to adjust some of the plans until I figure out what will work best for me. But if you’re still reading this on December 31, 2011, I will be smaller.
What new year’s decisions will you make that will change your life in 2011?
ps: I wrote this article once, and I guess I didn’t save it. I had to write it again. First decision of 2011: save early, save often.