New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you love them or hate them, the tradition still runs strong. A simple Google search will pull up over 24-million internet pages about how to set them, keep them, and ignore them. And much of the information is snooze-worthy to say the least.
Setting a few resolutions at the beginning of each calendar year is a curious concept when you think about it. How does waiting until January 1 to make the declaration increase our level of success and commitment? Why is it that even after starting out strong, with great determination, we soon find ourselves relying solely on willpower and grit?
If you find yourself making resolutions, yet floundering with the follow-through, you’re not alone. Let’s take a look at the pitfalls associated with traditional resolutions and explore mindset shifts that will help you achieve your goals:
- Resolutions are based on ideas of what you “should” do, but not what you “want” to do.
When outside pressure makes you feel as if you “should” implement a change in your life, that’s a problem! Stop “shoulding” all over yourself and start thinking about the changes you “want” to make. If you notice a bit of excitement bubble up when you think of what you want, you’re on the right track!
- Resolutions are focused on the need to have more, ignoring our current blessings.
With the onset of a New Year, our ambitions are naturally directed towards dreaming big and setting goals for the upcoming year. However, these goals often inherently emphasize the gaps between where you are today compared to where you want to be in the future. Rather than focusing on gaining more of what you don’t have, stay present and acknowledge the abundance you do have!
- They look good on paper but often lack execution.
Pulling out a fancy journal and your favorite pen to write out a resolution is pretty to the eye, but that’s where it often ends. The next step is to create an execution strategy that will outline how to accomplish what you set out to achieve. Try to break it down into actionable steps, create a vision board, or strategically map out your plan. And don’t be surprised when distractions pop up; this is completely normal and means you’re doing something right!
- Beware of distracting shiny objects.
As the New Year wears on and the ‘newness’ of your resolutions begins to wane, shiny new objects may begin to appear, competing for your attention. Soon, you find yourself focused on a different project or creating another list of things to accomplish. More than likely, it will have little to do with where you started and cause you to give up your original commitment. But, if you design your road map for the next 365 days based on the results you want, your level of confidence, motivation, and commitment will rise to the occasion and help you stay on course.
- Resolutions don’t include a back-up plan for obstacles.
Whether we easily get discouraged or simply lose interest, 90% of people give up on resolutions. Even if we genuinely believe in our ability to make changes, obstacles and tests are bound to arise. So, when they show up, remember to stay present, think through the challenge and create a back-up plan to keep your momentum going. As we all know too well, a failure to plan is a plan to fail!