During the first week of January, it’s impossible not to talk about New Year’s resolutions. We spend the days before New Year’s Eve making mental notes about how we are going to become better people, lose weight, find true love, get our dream jobs and become the ultimate version of ourselves. We examine our lives and take all the aspects we dislike and decide that next year will be the year we will get rid of them. However, all these resolutions generally end up being empty promises by the end of January when most of us will throw in the towel and stop working toward the goals we had set for ourselves at the beginning of the New Year.
So lets talk about the reasons why we generally fail to make these resolutions come true:
They are too vague
Saying “I want to lose weight” is not the same as saying “I want to lose 10 pounds by March.” If you don’t set up a very specific goal it becomes hard to know what you are working toward, and it makes it even harder to hold yourself accountable for making your resolution come true.
They are too aspirational
Yeah it’s great to make a resolution such as “I’m going to lose 100 pounds” or “I am going to be a famous writer.” But realistically speaking, it is very unlikely you will achieve something so big which may end up discouraging you from pursuing these goals once you come to the realization that they are almost impossible to attain. Instead, aim for something doable such as “I am going to write 500 words a day” or “I am going to lose five pounds a month.” You will realize that these little goals add up to huge results by the time December rolls around.
Lack of planning
Making resolutions such as “I will travel the world” or “I will work out every day” will not happen if you don’t plan accordingly. For the former, you need to figure out where you want to go and when you will have enough vacations/ample funds in order to make this trip happen. For the latter, you will need to join a gym, figure out which classes you would like to take, and how to fit them into your schedule. This applies to pretty much every resolution. If you don’t plan accordingly you are more likely to drop the ball on whatever promises you made to yourself.
You shouldn’t have to wait until January 1st to become a better person.
Most of the time the things we put on our resolution list are things we’ve had on our minds for a long time. So why wait until January 1st to finally make them happen? Why not make them happen December 1, October 31, on the first day of summer or on Valentine’s Day? Don’t put off anything you truly want to accomplish because you fear you will not make it come true.
So this year, I have decided that instead of making a long list of things that I am going to change once the new year starts, I am going to set a new goal or two every month and accomplish it. The thing about starting small is that once you start making small changes you will see huge results, and by the time the year ends you will definitely be that improved version of yourself you so wanted to see.
Here is my January resolution (so you can see an example of how it’s done): I will start writing again (being specific here), I’m aiming at three blog posts per week and at least one published article a month (being realistic here). Since I spent the majority of 2016 going through my quarter life crisis I will begin by writing the lessons I learned during that year (oh hey, a plan!), and I will start by writing an article for 20some where I list the lessons I’ve learned in my attempt to become an adult. Stay tuned.