We all want to better our lives and often that means bettering ourselves. Our outlook on life, how hard we work, and how many calories we eat (for some reason). The start of the new year gives us an opportunity to reorganize who we truly are. It gives us time to figure out how we are going to make the next year our year by setting New Year’s Resolutions.
We are a few weeks into 2019 and due to the nature of New Year’s Resolutions, there’s a chance that some of them have already failed to stick. In truth, how many of them actually last until the end of the year?
So here’s some advice as to what to do if you are struggling to stick to your New Year’s Resolutions.
How do we change our behaviours without rules to guide us? What are we supposed to do? Go back to watching daytime TV and throw away the bullet journal? Absolutely not. We can still do this, but not by making promises to ourselves we know won’t last.
New Year’s Resolutions Are Perishable
Much like baby spinach at room temperature, New Year’s Resolutions often don’t have a long lifespan. While fantastic in theory, they only motivate us for the first few weeks of a year. Usually, our New Year’s Resolutions are packed away with the Christmas decorations. If anyone has actually stuck to their New Year’s Resolutions for a whole year, we applaud you.
To really change our habits and grow, we need to set targets. We need to set targets that are achievable, but that we don’t give ourselves permission to throw them in the trash once the hype has died down. It’s a socially acceptable practice, and it gets us nowhere.
Make Goals, Not New Year’s Resolutions
What’s the difference between a goal and a New Year’s Resolution? First, we don’t actually care if we give up on our New Year’s Resolutions because everyone else is, so we don’t feel so bad. Goals tend to be layered, with steps for us to climb: they are designed to be long term. Whether we achieve them or not is another matter. Goals are set with the intention of working on them for a substantial period of time. If we commit to a long-term goal rather than a New Year’s Resolution which could tail off as soon as we lose motivation, we stand a greater chance of achieving it.
New Year’s Resolutions Are Seasonal
Some of us start planning our New Year’s Resolution as early as November, but therein lies the problem. We wait until the 1st of January to put them in place, whether we should start earlier or not. We eventually stop sticking to them and we end up waiting another eleven months to make more.
Your everyday goal can be made up and put into place any time and it’s that kind of action we need to embrace: the immediate kind. If we want to change something about ourselves or our lives, let’s not wait, let’s start now.
New Year’s Resolutions Aren’t Flexible
New Year’s Resolutions are too linear, not flexible enough and are often open-ended. We set them on one day of the year and often set them in a way that means we don’t have a date or a target to aim for. We set New Year’s Resolutions to “eat healthier” or “exercise more” or “go to the gym” without giving much thought to how empty those targets are. Also, try setting deadlines and more tangible action plans to celebrate when we complete them. The very nature of New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s Resolutions Are Insanely Public
When the new year rolls around we are expected to have set our resolutions and announce them for all to hear. But there are rumours buzzing around that declaring our intentions actually makes them less likely to be fulfilled.
Our non-New Year’s Resolution goals can be set in secret, for our eyes only and without the pressure of knowing that other people are expecting you to achieve them. Maybe for some of us, that pressure helps us succeed, but for many, putting our targets in the spotlight to die a miserable, public death just isn’t productive.
Planning to better ourselves and our lives are great undertakings but if we are going to accomplish them, we need to take them seriously. While we are well-meaning in making our New Year’s Resolutions, secretly we know we will never see them through, just like most other people. If we really want to commit to change, we need to make goals we intend to see through that we can implement straight away. Don’t wait for January–our lives are happening now.