I claim that 2017 is The beginning of a Magnificent Age. Meaning the 2017 is going to be a strong year of development, establishment of positive habits, surrounding myself with good people, God, and growth. New Year, new me right? Not exactly, I have not chosen a single resolution. But that’s not a bad thing.
Like I mentioned briefly in my post on becoming The Listener, I no longer want to think in resolutions. Typically resolutions create an immense amount of pressure for perfection. We create a laundry list of goals that are ambitious and ideal. Then we fall behind with one goal, feel like a failure, and give them all up. This is a counterproductive behavior. Don’t set the bar so high for yourself. All or nothing resolutions typically end in nothing.
Another issue I have with resolutions is that we tend to only want to pick them up in a new year, new season, or push them off until it feels like a fresh start. This in concept seems like it would work however, the more you put it off, the less momentum you have and more excuses never start. Act Promptly. Don’t put it off. Humans are naturally lazy. Laziness is why we create technology to make things easier for us. Procrastinating plays into our ability to rationalize any negative behavior for convenience sake.
The second part of don’t wait is start anytime. If I get the spontaneous desire to start working out, I start the next morning to reduce my excuse making muscles and get real gains. I did the same thing with my writing. I started in the middle of the month and have been more consistent than ever before. This way you reduce pressure on yourself for performance and the motivation comes from you, not from a tradition.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t make goals for yourself for the year. I have plenty of goals, but you can start your goals when they are feasible. Don’t overload yourself at the beginning of the year with nine new habits and goals. Don’t marry yourself to a doing all of your goals at the same time. Add goals gradually as time persists.
Stop making huge intimidating goals with horrible steps. Create small goals/steps that are connected to a larger aspiration. Aspirations are scary, large, and intimidating. Break that aspiration into smaller pieces. Make it feasible. I say my resolution is to lose weight. Then, I combine that aspiration with a bunch of habits that make my life horrible: I say I want to lose 20lbs and start eating only salads, run on the treadmill of five hours, drink six gallons of water in one day. This is a horrible way to live. There is no motivation for you to continue something you hate. All of these things are extremely difficult to start off with and are not fun if you never did them before. Start small.
I want to start investing this year in stocks. I started by asking people how they invest and what it means. When I get time, I spend a little time working towards my goal. I slowly add books to my reading list. I want to travel more. I want to see more concerts. I want to start doing music again. But, none of them have to start now. They are general goals that if I take a baby step towards addressing them, I’ve progressed miles. The small wins become big wins.
Another thing is how we think about our goals. Our minds are extremely powerful tools. Often we don’t even realize the effects of our thoughts until it’s too late. When we talk about our goals as something negative, we make our goals chores, instead of choices. You should feel empowered by your choice, not intimidated. Instead of talking about losing 20lbs, try saying that you want to become healthier. It may mean the same thing, but is much easier to process.
Tips for a Successful New Year:
- Start Gently
- Act Promptly
- Start Anytime
- Gradually Add Goals
- Frame Goals Positively
- Make it Feasible
- Make Goals General and Steps Specific
- Start Small
Resolutions don’t work because we put too much pressure on ourselves too quickly. Take it easy and start when you can. Make sure you want to do it and it’s something you enjoy. Don’t worry about changing all at once at January 1st. It’s a process and allow yourself to grow through it. Let the pressure go New Years is just another day anyway.