New Year’s resolutions make me nervous.
Every year millions of people boldly set out to reach new goals in the New Year. A fresh beginning makes them reach for lofty goals but good intentions only lead to failure within the first month or two. Sometimes failure comes within the first week!
I have never liked failure. Consequently, it has seemed wise to never set goals for the New Year. That way I have not had to share in the taste of failed resolutions along with everyone else. But this is a poor way to seek success in life, so I have come to terms with this fact and made some pre-resolution resolutions. I would like to share them with you.
Let’s face it. I can’t let fear of failure keep me from setting valuable goals. The things in life worth doing often involve a little risk. Goals should be big enough to capture my imagination and energy. Small goals are uninteresting and amount to little more than an item for a “to do” list. That brings me to my next pre-resolution resolution.
Resolution #2: I will not mix up my goals with my “to do” lists.
This is a common mistake especially when it comes to setting goals for health. For example, it might feel good to resolve that I will run every day for the next year but that would really just be a “to do” in disguise rather than a goal. The actual goal might be to lower my blood pressure 10 points, lose 20 pounds or go down one clothing size. I might choose to use running as a way to reach my goal but it isn’t the goal itself.
Resolution #3: I will shorten my time expectations.
A year is a long time. A few failures along the way toward an end-of-the-year goal could add up to discouragement and ultimate failure. I’m going to protect myself from this by breaking my goals into mini-goals. For example, a goal to lose 20 pounds by next Christmas could be broken down into four goals of losing five pounds by the end of each season.
Resolution #4: I will be my biggest fan.
Fans cheer when their favorite team scores a point. They know they have a long way to go before they win the game but they also know that the game is won by adding up the points. So every point is an achievement worthy of celebration. I am going to cheer myself on toward my goals this year by celebrating every little step toward that end no matter how far I have left to go.
Resolution #5: I will be reasonable but driven.
I am going to take my goals week by week. I will set up my list of “to do’s” for the week to help me inch my way toward my larger goals. I will select something each week to help me toward my goals and I will give myself permission to adjust these lists as I need to. Continuing with the example of losing weight: If I got the flu, I wouldn’t have to feel defeated. Since the goal was to lose 20 pounds rather than to run every day, I would be making progress toward that goal by focusing on recovering from the flu. This is the value of making sure that my goals are true goals rather than a list of idealistic “to do’s”.
To be honest, I’m still nervous about making resolutions. But I have a feeling I’m in a much better position to succeed with these pre-resolution resolutions in hand. I hope that as we enter this New Year together, you are ready to tackle some worthwhile goals that will lead to a healthier body, mind and soul. I wish you a Happy New Year and your healthiest year ever!