It’s a new year, and many people around the world traditionally use this time to make a list of new year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, statistics show that the majority of new year’s resolutions are broken rather quickly. Sadly, more than a third of people have already given up on their new year’s resolutions before Valentine’s Day! We say, why set yourself up for that kind of guilt? This year, we propose making not a list of resolutions reminding us of all the things we need to stop doing like sleeping in, eating chocolate, or procrastinating, but rather making a list of goals instead.
Why goals and not resolutions? The difference between a goal and a resolution can best be found in the “end game”. The aim of a goal is to achieve an accomplishment, whereas the point of a resolution is often to make a permanent life change. The thing about goals is, a series of achievable accomplishments usually leads to the permanent life change we desire, without the pressure. You may have heard the age-old question, “How do you eat an elephant?” answered with the very practical, achievable formula of “One bite at a time”. While you may laugh at the absurdity of it, there’s a valuable life lesson in that answer.
Let’s take a practical view of the problem. Since the most common new year’s resolution is to lose weight, usually specified by losing a certain number of pounds or fitting comfortably into a certain size of clothing, we’ll start there. Rather than making a resolution to lose, say, 25 pounds, we suggest setting an achievable goal of eating healthier for one month. Within that goal, you can get as specific as you need to by setting the goal to eat vegetables twice a day, or reduce your portions by 1/3, or save desserts for Saturday nights. Approaching your goal this way sets you up for immediate success, and success breeds more success! Achieving a goal like this day after day and week after week will not only result in a sense of accomplishment, but will yield other wonderful results as well, like more energy, better sleep, an overall sense of wellbeing, and most likely that weight loss you’re after.
Taking a different approach to new year’s resolutions by setting goals instead takes the pressure off and allows you a certain fluidity within the parameters you set to accomplish those goals. If your goal is to eat healthier and eating vegetables twice a day isn’t working for you, you have the freedom to adjust it to once a day, or twice a day three times a week, or whatever works for you. Changing the framework of how you plan to reach your goal is not ‘breaking a resolution’, and therefore it’s not a failure. Instead, it’s simply adjusting the mechanics of how you will proceed to make the process work for you, ultimately reaching your goal and experiencing victory.
This year, why not set new goals to realize new victories in your life during the months that stand between now and the end of the year? Track your progress and make your goals “do-able.” Design a path to achieving those victories that enables you to stand up and say, “I did it!” well before the next new year rolls around. Cheers to your success!