New Years Resolutions

Every year, millions of people make promises to themselves for the new year. Though they have every intention to follow through, a very small percentage of those people will actually carry out those promises. They affectionately call these promises New Years Resolutions.

As I watch the discussions on twitter about new years resolutions, I have to wonder why people make them knowing they’re going to break them. For years I’ve pondered this and it’s one of the very reasons I use to not make my own promises/resolutions in the new year.

How do I know they’re going to break their resolutions? Well, one reason is that humans are fallible. Another reason: just look at the track record. If we are anything as a collective, we are predictable. We tend to follow the same patterns no matter the technological leaps. Therefore, New Years resolutions will be dropped or discarded as quickly as an over-chewed piece of gum.

In college, I decided that any change I’m willing to make cannot wait for New Years, the first of the month or even Monday. If I want to change something about my life, I do it today or as late as tomorrow. Unless it requires a product or a certain scheduled event, then I follow through immediately. I have found that the only thing keeping me from following through is my lack of motivation. Starting on a significant date has had no affect on how willing I am to follow through. So, I don’t wait, I don’t plan and I don’t depend on “fresh starts”.

It’s interesting to hear people rationalize their motivation for the new year as a fresh start. Why can’t a minute from now be a fresh start? Why can’t tomorrow morning be a fresh start (barring the fact that tomorrow is new years. Lol)? Every second of every day is a fresh opportunity to change and grow. You don’t need a special date to make a fresh start.

It seems to me that people need a significant date to make their motivation seem more important. But I tell you… make today important! Make NOW important! The day is only as important as you make it. New Years is a huge day for a lot of people because as a society we’ve made it that way, but really, is there anything different about that day other than the years progressing? There isn’t. The sun rises and sets the same. The birds don’t stop to reflect. The wind still blows and you’re simply a day older – as you were the day before and the day before that.

So, this year think about how your resolutions fit your life. I’m not going ask you to not make them. After all, it would be wasted characters on a page. No, I just want you to reflect on your resolutions, how you plan on implementing them, why they had to wait for January 1st to start and if they’re too big to handle.

One of the biggest reasons goals aren’t met is because our intentions override our practicality. If a goal interferes with your life, it will not be reached. If a goal is too large to manage it will get away from you. If a goal is not practical, it’s more likely to be discarded. So, make sure your goals fit into your life. Here are some examples:

I will exercise every day = I will exercise more often and when I think about it, even if it’s a 10 min walk around the block.

I will start sending birthday cards to everyone I know = I will acknowledge peoples birthdays, but be sure to take special steps to acknowledging my favorite peoples birthdays because I know it’ll make their day.

Make it easy. Add a reward for doing it. But don’t make the reward a burden. Don’t promise to buy yourself a new pair of shoes for every 5 lbs you drop. But do think of the reward as “I will have more energy to do the things I want to do if I get up and move more.” Like with the birthday card example, the reward is simple – bringing joy to someone else’s day would be great motivation for me and easily obtained.

In the end, it’s not about whether or not you make new years resolutions. That’s your choice to make. It’s more about why you make them when you do. I don’t make new years resolutions because I do not see any benefit or practicality to them; Any changes I make are made as needed. I value my reasons because they fit who I am. They fit my lifestyle and how I approach life. Value YOUR reason, but have one.

I hope you got something out of this post and I was able to shed some light on my views about resolutions and making changes. Remember, it’s only important if you make it so – the minute, the hour, the day. Happy New Years! Hope your celebrations are fun and safe!