I honestly can’t stand New Year’s Day. OK, it isn’t the day itself, especially if there are some good college football games on. But I can’t stand the idea of New Year’s resolutions, which go hand in hand with New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Resolutions are Weak
Many people make New Year’s resolutions. I don’t have any scientific data, but I would guess that many of these revolve around better health, improving personal finances, or some other sort of progress in their lives. These are all desirable outcomes, no matter what time of year. So why would someone delay making a resolution to an arbitrary future date? This is why New Year’s resolutions are weak.
Research shows that less than 10% of resolutions stick, and by February 80% of resolutions have already failed.
If you really want to improve, you make a resolution and start on it right away (or after the upcoming vacation). Why would anyone want to delay improving themselves? Unless the improvement is more gimmick than serious. And herein lies the issue with why so many resolutions fail.
Expect Your Resolution to Fail
Changes in behavior aren’t easy. If they were, we would have already become our best selves. We are constantly tempted by sweets, the body prefers less activity to more, the brain tires easily when exerting mental energy, and we have innate biases and preferences that may run counter to who we want to be.
We should expect to “fail” many times in our effort to break an old habit, make a new habit, or otherwise change our behavior. But we aren’t actually failing, unless we give up. We simply haven’t succeeded yet. And just like a toddler learning to walk, we should expect to “fail” many times until we get it right.
If the resolution is only good enough to make and attempt to keep once per year, it isn’t going to receive the seriousness and effort required to change. It is a gimmick and we will give it a good effort for a few weeks, tire out, and then resolve that next year we will tackle it again. Always looking forward to next year to improve what we should really improve today. Oh, how deceptive we can be with ourselves!
Resolutions to Succeed
Resolutions often fail because they are too aspirational. They are too large of a change from where we are today. And we tend to give up quickly. Baby steps and/or making adjustments isn’t in the cards. It’s all-or-none. That is why I suggest we celebrate New Week’s Day…every week.
Every week is a chance to see how we did the prior week, and make adjustments. Was the goal/resolution too aspirational? Do we need to dial it back a little and make a smaller resolution first? Did we stumble? No problem, let’s identify where we stumbled, make a plan for the coming week, and start again. Happy New Week! Every week is an opportunity to improve who we are. But one word of caution…if you do this – review your resolutions every week and make necessary adjustments – you just very well may succeed in your resolution. And wouldn’t that be something to celebrate!
Happy New Week,