2008 is soon approaching and many people are thinking about setting new year’s resolutions. Most of the time, I recommend that people don’t set resolutions, because they are usually completely unrealistic OR they are ineffective because they are not specific enough.
Here are some examples of unrealistic resolutions:
- I will not eat ______ this year. (“I’m not eating any more chips… ever”!).
- I will walk on the treadmill every day this year. (“I know I hate walking… but I’m going to walk EVERY DAY!”).
- I will spend less money and get out of debt this year. (“I’m going to quit buying so much stuff”).
There is danger in setting unrealistic resolutions. These resolutions aren’t achievable. I take that back; they could be achieved, but would require a LOT of time and energy and expertise in order to succeed. Most people are not willing to put those kinds of resources into their resolutions and end up failing.
When resolutions aren’t met, the emotional consequences of failure are remembered and guilt builds up. Often, this failure can be the biggest barrier to reaching future goals.
Here are some examples of ineffective resolutions:
- I will exercise more this year. (“I didn’t really exercise before, so that shouldn’t be too hard!”)
- I’m going to start cooking this year. (“I don’t really know how, but I guess I’ll figure it out.”)
- This year I will be more organized. (“I’ve got to get this place cleaned up… the house, the yard, the mail, my office…”.)
The problem with these resolutions is that they are far too vague! They won’t be achieved because there’s no way to measure if you’ve done it or not. This will leave you distracted and not focused on the things that you really want to achieve this coming year.
Next time I will discuss how to set a realistic resolution. Before doing that, it’s important to pick your priorities. You cannot change everything at once, so pick no more than 3 specific areas that you want to work on.
Enjoy your last few days of 2007!