4 Ways to Get Beyond Your New Year’s Resolution
January 11, 2019
Have you ever experienced the frustration of accomplishing a goal, only to find that 1 week, 1 month, or 1 year later you are right back where you started? Maybe you resolved last year to lose 10 pounds. Perhaps you set a goal to exercise 3 times a week. After 1 week of that, you found that life seemed to crowd out any extra time for yourself, which meant bye-bye exercise and healthy eating.
I wanted to read 2 books a month last year. I made it to September and then “time got away from me.” Even with all my best intentions, I still fell short of my goal.
You and I are not alone.
95% of people that make a resolution quit after the first week. Another 60% only make it 6 months.
How do you achieve something a second time, when you already accomplished it once in time past, slid backward, and now feel like you failed?
There are many personal qualities it will take to achieve any goal a second time – stop a bad habit you’ve fallen into or change a behavior pattern that you’ve slipped back into. Although it will take some serious personal growth and a daily choice to stay the course, is it impossible?
I’m not going to give you the “magic bullet” of how to make your New Year’s resolutions or goals stick. But here are 4 things that I have found helpful every New Years to ensure I don’t become burdened down with guilt before January is even over.
4 Ways to Go Beyond
Your New Year’s Resolution
1. Don’t Get Fixated on New Year’s
Although a new year is a fresh start, our life is full of fresh starts if we will only make the choice to begin again. New Years really isn’t any different other than we are all uber fixated on starting over and accomplishing goals.
There is nothing different about December 31 and January 1 other than the fact that we have all collectively, as a society, made it different. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m a firm believer in goal setting and commitments so this is not a license to shirk those. However, as is evidenced by the extreme drop off 1 week after making our resolutions, something we are doing isn’t working.
Check out my friend Jeff’ Goins’ blog on why we shouldn’t even set New Year’s Resolutions. I think you’ll find his perspective refreshing and challenging.
Our resolutions aren’t working ultimately because they perpetuate within us feelings of shame and guilt over one more year gone by that we’ve failed yet again to “stick with it.”
But if you can see each day you’ve been given life and breath as a fresh start, not just January 1, you will find that you can accomplish goals all year long, not just New Years.
2. Decide, and then Plan
Oftentimes we feel pressured into making a decision simply because it’s New Years. We follow the crowd, or just throw out a commitment that sounded like a good idea at the time.
We made the decision, but we never stopped to make a plan to accomplish it.
I go to the gun range from time to time with Nathan and one thing I know for a fact is that the targets we put up never get hit without first aiming and firing our guns. You may have put up your “target” for the New Year with all your best intentions of hitting it, only to realize that you never learned how to fire the gun, nor had you ever even been to a firing range.
This is how it is when we throw out goals but don’t take it a step further to determine, “What am I actually going to do to accomplish that goal?” Planning can take 5 minutes or 1 hour. It doesn’t have to take much to set you up for a successful week, month, and even year.
So when you make a decision to go for a goal don’t forget to make a plan for how you’re going to achieve it.
3. Remember It’s a Journey
Targets also don’t get hit without patience and practice. To hit the bulls-eye an expert shooter did not simply pick up a gun and hit it the first time. I’m sure you’ve heard this logic before. We all know that in order to achieve anything great it takes time, patience, and practice.
However, so often we don’t apply that mantra to our own lives (it’s for the other guy, not us!).
One thing that has helped me in preparing for how I want 2019 to be the most impactful, most successful ,and best year of my life with many goals achieved (or re-achieved) has been to understand that it’s a journey…I may not accomplish every one of those goals in 1 years time!
I have to personally do a better job of setting myself up for success by not throwing out such unrealistic goals (of which I am the Queen!). A phrase I say often to my business leaders is
“Your business is a reflection of what you did 90 days ago.”
In other words, what you’re sowing today you can’t expect to actually reap today. It may not show up until 90 days later.
When you and I give ourselves some breathing room and know that we are ALL in process, we will see each small “win” as something to be celebrated. Rather than quitting altogether because we aren’t getting there fast enough! We have to guard our hearts against the mentality that is prevalent in our culture:
I want it, and I want it NOW!
This “pop-tart-instant-oatmeal-1 minute rice” society (whoever heard of rice cooking in 1 minute anyway?? I’m not sure that’s really rice!) wants everything quicker than ever before. So when it comes to our goals, it’s hard to flip the switch in our brain to “journey” when we’ve been agreeing things need to be “instant.”
Ugh. This is a painful one. Even to write. But we can do this.
4. Follow in the Footsteps of Someone Already Doing It
One of the best things I’ve ever done to help me accomplish my goals is this:
Find someone who has what you want, and resolve to do what they do.
Learn from them. Model them. Don’t become them, because you are you. You’re uniquely gifted and have a unique calling. But when you learn from a guru or master or Yoda or whatever you want to call them, you’re chances of success are better.
Maybe that’s linking arms with a friend and doing the task together. You might find a book from someone you revere and let them begin to mentor you through their teachings.
But remember, let where they are inspire you not create envy in you.
It’s easy to fall into the deadly trap of comparison. Guard your heart against this and allow the person ahead of you to pull you forward.
What would it do for you to view New Years Resolutions more like a journey than a destination?
Here’s to an amazing 2019.