It’s that time again, with well intentioned aims and claims of a better year ahead. Since Babylonians began their year promising to repay their debts and Medieval knights committed to continuing chivalry, humans have aimed to make the coming 12-months better than the former.
StatisticBrain states 58% of Americans infrequently or always make a New Year’s resolution, but with broad spectrum promises ranging from weight loss to self-improvement, improving finances to enhanced relationships, are we setting ourselves up for imminent impotence and another year begun on the failure foot?
And how can we make the most of heightened intentions during an often happy season, to guide us through the coming challenges that form a normal part of life?
What Really Matters… and Why?
If asked, what is the one thing that would really make a difference to your life, what would it be? It is attainable? Does it rely on you rather than mere wishing and hoping for an impossible change brought by others? With an achievable goal and you in the drivers seat, your success rate is improved.
Now, why does it matter?
“I resolve to get fit!” Why? What does this mean exactly, and how will it motivate you to continue when the grind bears down and the couch potato temptation returns?
What about this instead…
I resolve to play 30 minutes of football with my children three times per week, without puffing or passing out. That’s much more emotive, infinitely more important and will likely fulfill one of the below three steps to success… accountable support (aka nagging kids)!
Talking about fitness; it is, in truth, usually not being able to bench press 100 pounds or run 50 miles that matters. It is what these abilities gift: how fitness impacts on your confidence and what experiences you can have.
Aim Low and Achieve
As the age old saying goes, we need to crawl before we walk. And while a game changing goal of a 50 pound weight loss might be warranted, are you running a marathon before you’ve learnt to step out your front gate?
My advice? Aim low — or achievable in the short term — and build.
What if you aspire to shed five pounds? Then reward yourself, (maybe a new t-shirt, not a Dunkin’ Donut!), and reassess. You will become more aware of the requirements of that win and be able to better plan for the next. As you stack success on success, your self belief will soar and helpful habits will continue to grow. And remember…
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years,”
– Bill Gates
I’m not saying it will take 10 years to achieve one New Years resolution, but a brief flurry of perspective is steadying, especially when we consider that many people make the same promise year after year.
Now, what can you do to make this year the final year for your current pledged improvement?
3 steps to New Year’s resolution success
1. Daily devotion
Whether big or small, getting in a regular daily groove of moving toward your goal is key.
2. Plot your plan
Diary anyone? Schedule self appointment times as you would any significant engagement. Stick to them.
3. Seek accountable support
Nagging kids are certainly ample motivation, but there may be others more… enjoyable. A friend, family member, suitable professional or even the right phone app can keep you on the right track, and plonk you back on it if and when you fall off.
May your 2018 be beyond your wildest dreams… *hmm hmm* happy, healthy and matter.