There’s been a lot of backlash to what I call the, ‘New Year, New You’ mentality. I understand why – the people advocating slogans like these are usually attempting to make you feel crappy about yourself so that you buy something, which is not cool.
In the process, however, resolutions and goals have been demonized.
Call me cliché, but I still love the feeling of potential and anticipation of what’s to come that accompanies the start of a new year. An avid goal-setter myself, I wouldn’t miss the opportunity to evaluate the last year and define my aspirations for the next.
Let me caveat this…
Sure, I have experienced some pitfalls in my goal setting over the years. There were definitely moments where I focused more on the destination than the journey. There were times when I failed and struggled not to take it personally (failing and being a failure are very different). And other times when I set goals in an effort to transform myself when I really should have been cultivating love and appreciation for what is uniquely me.
At this point, I can usually decipher between a sexy goal tempting me (e.g., competing in a bikini contest), and one that is worth my time and energy. At the moment, I am generally able to accept what is & enjoy my journey while also maintaining a healthy appetite to improve, grow and develop. I guess you could say I have evolved into a mindful goal-setter. If you aren’t there yet, my suggestion is to focus first on cultivating a sense of love and appreciation for yourself. This is an incredibly worthwhile endeavor that will benefit you and everyone around you.
In case the goals topic excites you, here’s an interesting conversation between Tim Ferris and Leo Babauta debating the benefit of goals (or not).
You’ll find lots of articles that cite a failure rate of 92% when it comes to New Years Resolutions. For a while, I thought that sounded about right. After all, found myself cringing often hearing people talk about losing the same 15 pounds they attempted to lose last year and the year before that. It makes me sad that they are perpetually down on themselves because I’ve been there, too. And it’s no fun. See above… The first step is to love thyself… even the fat bits.
Last week while I was pedaling away on my bike on the trainer, I realized 92% of resolutions fail… that means that 8% succeed! That’s actually not so bad. Let me offer some perspective that may make you realize that being in the 8% is both desirable and attainable.
Categories you might not want to be in:
- 68% of Americans frequently worry about their financial situation (Harris Poll)
- 47% of Americans aren’t saving any of their income (The Daily Beast)
- 35% of Americans are on welfare (2014, Census Bureau)
- Only 33% of Americans are very happy (Harris Poll)
Stats that resonated with me:
- 8% of Americans have a Master’s Degree
- 7% of High School girls listed something other than shopping as their favorite pastime (Affluenza)
- 5% of Americans travel overseas each year (Huffington Post)
- 3% of American births are twins (yeah!)
- 0.5% of Americans have run a marathon
- 0.5% of Americans are vegan
In short – 8% doesn’t scare me. I’m used to spending time in the minority and I like it there. It shouldn’t scare you either. There are a few easy steps you can take to make sure your resolution is compelling enough to be successful.
- Start with something that really gets you going. It has to be emotionally charged. If your goal is something you could or should do, I can almost guarantee that you won’t be successful. Your goal should excite you. You probably feel nervous, but the nerves are accompanied by an array of positive emotions, too. When you imagine achieving your goal, you might feel teary or shaky. You might feel a smile creeping casually across your face. That’s the type of thing we’re looking for here.
- Write it down (the right way). This is important, not just because writing something down ingrains it in our brains, but it’s also because of how you willl write it. Make your goal a present tense statement. Make sure it’s SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic & time-bound). Here’s an example:
- Consider the daily actions required to get there. Now, let’s get into the details because any destination is really all about consistent behavior change on a daily basis, and this is HARD. So, what is required in order to achieve your goal? Can you make this fun, enjoyable or rewarding? How will you create accountability for yourself? What obstacles will you encounter? How will you manage them? How will you engage yourself when your energy is low? How will you feel on this journey?
- Re-write. If the actions above don’t seem do-able or desirable, re-evaluate your resulultion. Take some time. Don’t be afraid to tweak it or shift your focus entirely.
Finally, as you decide where you’ll aim your focus in 2016, consider your relationships and how your resolution will impact the people closest to you, directly or indirectly. Check out this TED talk on What Makes Life Good. Hint: it’s the people!
Happy New Year! If you’ve set goals for 2016 or decided on a resolution, please share.
And check out Statistic Bran for more info about New Years Resolutions.