New Year’s Resolutions

Today’s Topic: New Year’s Resolutions

Last week’s topic was about you choosing to make the things that are deeply important to you a priority. In doing so, did you make any resolutions? The most popular New Year’s Resolutions are:

1. Lose weight
2. Volunteer to help others
3. Quit smoking
4. Improve my education
5. Get a better job
6. Save money
7. Get fit
8. Eat healthy
9. Manage stress
10. Manage debt

Brad PittIf we embark on a path to take our New Year’s resolutions seriously, we are forced to take action. More accurately, though, in order to adhere to our newly stated resolutions, we are forced to change actions; actions that are usually long-standing bad habits or deeply-rooted behaviors. If we’ve been doing things (or not doing things) a certain way for years and years – if not our whole lives – it’s very difficult to change. Combine this obvious truth with the fact that most people put together a “bucket list” of resolutions, and it’s easy to see why 92% of all New Year’s resolutions fail. Attempting to alter too many realities about ourselves in the hope that we can affect meaningful change in our lives can quickly become a daunting and unmanageable burden. As the new year settles in, it usually finds us settling in to our previous patterns and behaviors and we simply let go of our resolutions. Competing priorities, ones we know how to deal with and are much better equipped to deal with than those created by too much drastic change, win out.

Instead of making resolutions, perhaps setting specific, attainable goals is a better plan. For example, instead of having a resolution to “Lose weight”, you should have a goal such as, “I will lose 10 pounds by June 1st.” Instead of having a resolution to “Volunteer to help others”, you should have a goal such as, “I will devote four hours, one Saturday per month to…” Instead of having a resolution to “Eat healthy”, you should have a goal such as, “I will not eat bread or pasta or dessert until January 31st, and then, only on Fridays.”

By setting specific, measurable, attainable goals, you can then incorporate an action plan that will be able to stand up to competing priorities and deeply-rooted behavioral patterns better. There’s nothing wrong with having a lot of goals, but don’t set so many that you allow failure to be acceptable. There’s also nothing wrong with setting lofty goals, but make sure that you will fully commit to the action plan needed to reach them.

So, while we are still close to the beginning of 2015, forget the resolutions and write down your specific goals for the year.

With that, here are a few movie quotes that come to mind on the point…

“This quitting thing, it’s a hard habit to break once you start.” –Walter Matthau in The Bad News Bears

“Adapt or die.” –Brad Pitt in Moneyball

“Change is nature, the part that we can influence, and it starts when we decide.” –Patton Oswalt in Ratatouille

“Everybody wants results but nobody wants to do what they have to do to get them done.” –Clint Eastwood in Sudden Impact