New Year’s Resolutions
Why do New Year’s Resolutions fail? Mainly, because they are only a statement, or what we wish for in the coming year. There are usually no action plans, no deadlines, no backup plans. Sometimes they are unrealistic resolutions, with no other thought or plans beside the statement.Catherine Pulsifer
2020 is just about done.
It may have been your most difficult year. Or the best.
Regardless of where any of us fall on that spectrum, it was definitely a year of growth and change. From the global pandemic, social unrest, and political wars, to masking up, quarantine, employment and schooling challenges and more: this year is one for the history books, for sure. Some could finally rest and slow down, while others picked up their pace and hustled.
Undoubtedly, this year didn’t go as you planned.
But what did you plan, and what were your resolutions?
If you look back at yourself at the beginning of this year:
- how different are you today on a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least, 10 being the most different)?
- In what ways have you grown, and where do you still feel stuck?
- What resolutions did you make (and keep) throughout the year?
Like Catherine’s quote, many resolutions are merely statements or wishes. We make declarations, but by the time it’s March, we fall back to the same patterns and habits we had the year before. We become unmotivated and let go of our commitments. This prevents us from achieving our goals and making our dreams a reality. By the end of this post, you’ll know how to actually meet your New Year’s Resolutions. But first, here’s why people don’t:
Why Most People Never Meet their New Year’s Resolutions
I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions. I think if you want to change something, change it today and don’t wait until the New Year.Georgina Bloomberg
It’s said that ancient Babylonians were the first to make New Year’s resolutions a thing. After planting crops and crowning a new king, they would make promises to the gods to pay their debts and return any borrowed items; believing that if they kept their word, they would get blessed in the year ahead. Otherwise, they’d fall on the bad side of their gods.
The modern practice of New Year’s resolutions comprises people making promises to themselves, instead of gods like the Babylonians. We focus on self-improvement and take time to reflect on our goals during the first month of the year. However, 80% of people break their resolutions by the first week of February, and only 8-10% successfully achieve them.
Most people never meet their New Year’s Resolutions because they:
- Live by the calendar
- Live by their feelings
- Lack responsibility
- Lack ownership
- Hesitate; and
- Are only interested
These points boil down to one word: Holiday Remorse.
Okay, that was two, but you get my point.
Holiday Remorse is a guilt driven-response you have after over-indulging in comfort foods, giving/getting gifts, and unwinding a little too much. You relieve yourself of self-discipline and chisel away your future self’s motivation as you treat your [present] self. This response prevents you from following through with your resolutions and fixates your dependence on external factors.
Unless you change your mind and reframe your perspective about resolutions, don’t expect things to change.
There’s a biblical principle to help us with this. It applies to every area of our life:
Do not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind. Romans 12:2a
Renewing your mind is the ultimate self-improvement method. God knew that our biggest battle would be in the mind, which is why He gave us His word to help us do it.
You’ll notice that changing the way you think about certain things goes hand-in-hand with action. You first change your mind and then change your approach. This prevents you from conforming to what everyone else is doing.
If you want to grow in your faith, you must be open to learn and receive fresh revelations from God, the Bible, and people. This challenges your current mindset and pushes you into higher (and deeper) thinking.
If you want to be more healthy, you must change the way you think about food. Instead of acting on hungry feelings, practice eating consistently and eliminate the sugary snacks in between meals.
If you want to change your financial circumstances, change the way you see money and learn how to budget.
As you consistently renew your mind, your conversations will change. When your conversations change, your actions change and then turn into habits. Which then it integrates into your character, personality, and ultimately takes you into the life you want to live.
God’s word contains wisdom for every area of our life. When you read it, you’ll find principles that will help you change and renew your mind.
Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.Lao Tzu
Change Your Mind; Change Your Life.
If you’re interested, you come up with stories, excuses, reasons, and circumstances about why you can’t or why you won’t. If you’re committed, those go out the window. You just do whatever it takes.John Assaraf.
New Year’s resolutions are trendier now than ever before. Majority of us are interested, but not committed. We like the idea of making resolutions, but only after December 31st.
Yet, when the calendar flips to the new year, something is off.
Our intentions seem right. Our goals seem realistic. Our resolutions seem legit.
But we already feel behind.
When you constantly put something off (especially leading into a new year), you chisel away your motivation (reason for doing something) for your resolution (firm decision to do/not do something). The longer you wait, the less likely you’ll do it.
It’s like cliff-jumping. If you don’t waste time and just jump, you’re likely to do it again. The adrenaline rush and exhilaration from your first dive makes you crave more. But the longer you tarry on the cliff, you’ll come up with more excuses, reasons, and circumstances of why you can’t or why you won’t.
STOP WAITING FOR JANUARY 1ST.
The calendar cannot actually give you a clean slate. You’ve accumulated habits, behaviors, and thought-processes from your entire life, so the only way you can change yourself is to start with your mind. You’ve got to hold yourself to a higher standard. You’ve got to understand that you’re the only one who got you where you are. And also, that you’re worth it.
Change your mind from being interested to committed. Today, right away.
Like cliff-jumping: instead of waiting on the edge uncomfortably, jump into the unknown and experience the adrenaline. Don’t flake out, commit and take the leap.
Then you’ll want to do it again and again and again.
If you start today instead of waiting for January 1st, imagine what you’ll be up to by the time that date rolls around. You’ll be further ahead and closer to achieving your dreams.
Set Yourself Up
Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.Proverbs 24:27
When you actually make a resolution, expect it to affect every area of your life. If you’re committed, this will happen like a domino effect. As you change your mind, you’ll notice yourself changing your environment.
There are people who get affected by the environment, and people who affect the environment.
Committed people affect their environments.
They set themselves up and use everything and anything as an opportunity to get closer to their goals. It’s no longer about the calendar and how they’re feeling, because their reason for doing something (motivation) has convinced them enough.
Committed people set themselves up by taking responsibility and ownership. Often, we don’t meet our resolutions because we get lazy and don’t want to be responsible for ourselves. We go too easy on ourselves nowadays and avoid the fact that we’re capable of so much more. We avoid taking ownership of the life we want to live!
When you discredit yourself on how much you can handle, complacency kicks in. Then, complacency feeds on procrastination, which leads you into hesitating more often. The more you hesitate, the less likely you’ll ever get yourself to do anything.
Basically, it comes down to this:
Holiday remorse makes you turn to external factors.
After indulging in the holiday vibes and letting yourself go, you think that when January 1st rolls around, you’ll get it together. Then January rolls around, and you just aren’t motivated. You wait for inspiration to come, but the longer you wait, the more you hesitate. The more you hesitate, the less responsible you feel, which makes you lack ownership of where you are in life. You become interested in the idea of resolutions and having goals written, but never actually commit.
The deal-breaker is in your mindset today. If you keep putting your resolution off for tomorrow, January 1st, or next Monday, you’re relying on the calendar and your feelings.
You can’t plan on how you’ll feel then.
You don’t know if tomorrow will come.
Work with what you got: today and right now.
How To Avoid Holiday Remorse:
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”—Neil Gaiman
Think and imagine ahead. Your future self will thank you for it.
What you do today will affect what you do next week. What you do this week will affect what you do next month. What you do this month will affect what you do 3 months from now.
Whether it’s finances, health and exercise, getting organized, or traveling more, whatever your resolution is, think ahead. Imagine where you’ll be next week based on what you do today. Imagine your future self and do what you need to do today to set yourself up.
If you don’t believe this, then act as if everything you do today will set you up next week (and so on). Act as if today is all you got. Your behavior will affect your attitude, which will affect your mindset.
Even if you don’t make resolutions or set goals, what you do today will still affect you then. Your lifestyle today will either keep you in place or take you further.
You either move forward or take two steps back.
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”-Robert Louis Stevenson
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”-Eleanor Roosevelt
Resolutions are more than mere statements or wishes.
They are firm decisions to change your life. If you start by renewing your mind, transformation will come. Don’t conform to society and what everyone else is doing, because what everyone else is doing most likely will not work for you. Instead:
- Take action today. Do anything and everything you can to get closer to your dream today.
- Act as if everything you do today will affect you next week, next month, and 3 months from now.
- Imagine yourself a week, a month, and 3 months from today if you do X, Y, and Z.
- Don’t wait for inspiration to come, because it won’t. At least, that’s my approach. Inspiration is temporary.
- Don’t be afraid to make promises to yourself. If your resolution is a wish, your promise is not legit.
- Don’t be afraid of failure. You can’t grow without opposition. Failure should motivate you to refine and streamline your approach and process.
Believe in yourself. You’re capable of so much more. And your dream life is possible.
You just need to change your mind and do something. Today.