No New Years Resolutions! I repeat, DO NOT, give yourself a New Year’s Resolution this year. And this is coming from someone who speaks professionally on change. I like change. I believe in change. I am an entrepreneur so I live by setting goals for myself and challenging myself everyday. I got here by failing over and over, then learning what works and what doesn’t work – the hard way. So I am hoping to help others avoid months and years of defeat by sharing a method for success for the New Year.
So no, I do not believe in New Year’s Resolutions. Why, you ask?
I spent years dreaming of owning my own business. I wanted to create something special and uniquely my own. I knew this about myself when I was 22 years old. I finally launched my business when I was 42 years old. Years went by where I wanted something more and I would say this is going to be the year. I would put my New Year’s Resolution out there, “This year I will leave my corporate job and start my business.” Then another year would pass and life would happen. At the end of the year I was exactly where I was at the start of the year. So I would say again, “This is the year, I am going to start my own business.” Another year would pass, and I was in the same place I was the year before, so I would say, “This is the year – I will start my own business.” It was like the movie Groundhog Day over and over again.
Until I realized that my New Year’s Resolutions were dreams – not something tangible that I had a plan to achieve. Oops.
Some New Year’s Resolutions are dreams like mine and others, well those are pie in the sky hopes we have for ourselves. We want to do things like, “lose 50 pounds in six months, get back into those jeans that haven’t fit me for 10 years, get in the best shape of my life in 8 weeks at the age of 52 with a bad back, get a new job that pays double what I am making now”…sound familiar. These are nice thoughts to have and great ideas … but…HOW will you achieve them?
You see so many New Year’s Resolutions set us up for failure because we say them hoping to achieve success. But we haven’t figured out the best path to success. HOW we achieve success is the most important part of making a goal a real part of our lives. First we must take an inventory of our lives to figure out what barriers exist that block us from success and what needs to be put into place in our lives for success to happen.
Let’s take the most common resolution people make as an example – losing weight.
Losing weight is a great decision for your health if you need to lose it. Choosing to do it in the wrong way will put you at risk of not reaching the goal at all. Choosing to do a 500 calorie a day diet coming off of say 3000 calories a day – that may be difficult at best. Likely you will give up after a couple of weeks because you have no energy and you are starving all the time. Not reaching the goal will reinforce the negative belief that is not possible for you to lose the weight. You feel like a failure and give up. You have inadvertently done yourself more harm than good.
We choose to set New Year’s Resolutions because we feel like it is time for a fresh start. It is a new year. It is time to live life differently and better than last year. Hope is in the air. It is a great time to set goals and assess our lives for what is and is not working. It is a great time to think about change. It is a great time to actually change the way we think about change in our lives.
Take an assessment of where you are today – this is Point A. Figure out what motivates you and what is not working for you. Ask yourself some tough questions to figure out what needs to change. Ask yourself, “what can I do differently next year?” Think about how you got to where you are right now and determine what habits need to change in order to live life differently. This work is the most important. This is how you got to where you are right now – the good, the bad and the ugly. Figuring out what you need to do to get to the goal has to do with seeing and changing old habits and beliefs first.
Second put into place a plan that is attached to the goal you have. Changing the way you eat over time in small steps creates a greater likelihood of success. If snack food is your enemy – one step would be to remove all packaged food from your home so that you are not tempted into failure when you are hungry. Choosing support in the form of a group of people all working towards the same goal may be part of the plan if you know that going it alone is difficult for you. Dealing with stress may be key if you know that stress triggers eating. Slowly incorporating more exercise over time easing into shape an older body will cause less pain and less of a negative association with exercise. These are steps – small steps that build momentum over time. One day you realize I am halfway to my goal then you are there.
What I am saying is that New Year’s Resolutions are just a pie in the sky. True change requires a goal attached to a plan. Taking inventory of where you are today, Point A, then putting a plan in place to achieve the goal you have set for yourself will get you to Point B, where you want to be in the future.
So take the pressure off of pie in the sky and set yourself up for success. You can do it I believe in you!