2018 is here and many people have set New Year’s resolutions. Most of the time, I recommend that people don’t set resolutions, because they typically have the wrong attitude about it and then don’t make lasting changes.
But is it possible to make resolutions that result in positive life change? Yes! And there’s absolutely no reason why this is a process that can only happen at the beginning of a New Year. It should be an ongoing process that we engage in!
The Wrong Way To Set Resolutions
Most people set themselves up to fail because they set resolutions that are 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 sugar… ever”!).
- I will walk every morning this year. (“I’m going to make myself walk, even when it’s 8 degrees outside!”).
- I will stop buying things new and save the earth this year. (“I’m going to quit buying anything”).
There is danger in setting unrealistic resolutions. These resolutions aren’t achievable. No one can do anything ALL THE TIME. You need to give yourself room for moderation.
People who set resolutions like these end up failing pretty quickly. When resolutions aren’t met, the emotional consequences of failure are remembered and guilt builds up.
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 eat clean. (“Clean eating is what everyone is talking about so it must be good”.)
The problem with these resolutions is that they are way 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.
Now that you know what doesn’t work, I’ll spend the next post discussing ways to make positive changes that will stick for a year, and beyond!
As “pre-work”, start by picking your priorities. You cannot change everything at once, so pick no more than 3 specific areas that you want to work on.
Enjoy your first weekend of 2018!