Rapidly following the intensity of Christmas celebrations and festivities, is January 1st, a day that initiates many good intentions commonly referred to as ‘New Year Resolutions’.
Yep you know what I’m talking about…we’ve all made them at least once in our lives! For a few they have mostly worked, the majority, very seldom, and for the cynics, never attempted. The definition in Wikipedia of a resolution is ‘a commitment that a person makes to one or more personal goals, projects, or the reforming of a habit.’
Compellingly, A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail, despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning
“EXACTLY”, I hear the cynics cry out!…Why bother to make them if there is such a failure rate”. For me the question is “Why is the failure rate so high?”…..surely resolutions are a good thing. So what’s going wrong?
I personally have always battled with New Year resolutions. Intention and lists of resolutions are always there, but following through is the challenge. One of my favourite bloggers and author Jeff-Goins suggests not to waste your time with writing resolutions but to rather focus on something else: resolve. He believes (seemingly confirmed by the % above), that many people make resolutions , but break them regularly. Why? He believes they’re not really resolving to do anything. They’re just wishing.
Without resolve, you have no hope of accomplishing your resolutions.
The answer suggested by Jeff.
“You need to commit. To choose into an intentional process that will make you better, not a set of audacious goals you’ll never meet. Goal-setting, while admirable, is, on its own, pointless. Goals, in and of themselves, aren’t sustainable. They tell you where you want to go, not how you’re going to get there. What you need are new habits or disciplines— a new way of living that will bring different results.”
This may seem oversimplified for what is a complex subject, but certainly worth investigating. I will initially show resolve to a single ‘habit’ for the next 21 days at least. Instead of my “normal” bed time of between midnight to 3:00 am and waking somewhere between 7:00 am or later, I commit to trying to get to bed as often as possible by 10:30 and waking at 5:30 am to begin my day with my spiritual disciplines. There its public
In closing I offer a few other aspects to consider.
- Shorten the list – Perhaps no more than 4 clear areas of resolve are more “achievable”
- S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-sensitive
- Record – On computer, on small card you carry with you
- Share – with accountability partner or even publicly
- Spread them out – Vary target dates eg: by end March, June or December.