I know, I know, New Year’s resolutions are ridiculous and no one ever sticks with them. Blah, blah, blah. I used to say the same thing until………. I made one resolution and it changed my life forever. It’s weird but for some reason New Year’s resolutions tend to bring up a ton of controversy. People either love them or hate them. I have always had the attitude that they are a complete joke and a giant waste of time. They may get a bad reputation from all the times people say they are going to do something and it never happens. There’s always a bunch of memes on Facebook about the gym being full for the month of January and then empty in February. So maybe we just settle with the perspective that resolutions are just shallow deals we make with ourselves so we feel better about a challenge that will likely get tossed by the wayside when life ramps up again. For the majority of my life I would deliver a condescending eye-roll to anyone that would share a new year’s resolution with me. Maybe I didn’t want people to succeed because I knew I wouldn’t. Maybe I didn’t want to try because I knew I’d screw it up anyway. Maybe I had no resolve because I had no direction or destination. Maybe I didn’t want the accountability. Maybe I just didn’t care . Regardless of the reason, resolutions always brought out a terrible attitude in me.
1. I can tell you exactly the date on which this attitude changed, it was January 1, 2013. I had been reading about goals and the research done on goal setting and successful changes in habits. This is a future post so I don’t want to kill it here but here’s the basic idea: a dream or thought is just an idea, it’s not a physical thing unless you write it down. Once it’s written down it becomes real or physical, it is actually a “thing “. Once that thing has a solid date attached, it becomes and appointment. Think of it this way, how many times do you bump into someone and say, hey, “we have got to get together”? Typically they will agree and tell you that they would love to get together. Next, one of three things will happen. You will smile at each other and say have a nice day, it was so great to see you. Or…..you will talk about your schedules and maybe mention what part of the week works better and then finish the conversation with I’ll get back to you when I find out ___________ (fill in the blank). Or you talk about schedules, similarly to the last scenario, then you pull out your phone, set a date and time, and say how great it was bumping into them. Obviously the last scenario is the most likely for a second meeting to happen and there are two reasons why, date and time. So, reason number one, January 1st at 12:00 is a hard date and time which makes an idea turn into an event.
2. Piggybacking on the situation above, after the date and time are set it gives way to an entirely new set of excuses. A week goes by and life is going full throttle. It is a crazy morning, kids are late for the bus, there’s utter chaos in the house and a little reminder pops up on your phone. Crap, I forgot all about meeting John and Jane tonight. You make the phone call and explain how crazy life is and how many things are going on but you will definitely call next week to reschedule. We all know where this is likely to end. The cool thing about New Year’s Day is that the only way you can reschedule is to postpone until next year and I figure if you are going to do that you probably are not really serious about this whole thing anyways. So, reason number two, you can’t postpone New Year’s.
3. The “ramp up”. Remember being a kid the week before Christmas? For me, it was the slowest week of the year. The excitement was so overwhelming that I couldn’t sleep the night before. This is a very common observation that people talk about all the time. There’s something more subtle going on with idea though. As a kid I was excited about the Christmas Day as it approached but for weeks leading up to it I was already playing out scenarios of my future presents. I can remember making plans and room for things I didn’t have a clue if I would get or not. If a kid is planning on a new bike for Christmas you can bet they have already taken a virtual mental ride around the neighborhood with it weeks before it’s even purchased. Heck, I’m 43 and I have already played out all the situations that I will use my GoPro that Santa may be getting me next week. The point is this, making a New Year”s resolution will give you something to focus on before it actually happens. This allows you to play the entire thing out weeks before it happens. It gives you the ability to mentally go through the different circumstances and challenges you may face. The coolest part about all of this is that if or when you hit the obstacle you will be better prepared because you have already thought about it weeks ago and it’s not a huge shock. If you have considered the obstacle beforehand you have likely considered the solution as well. So reason number three is mental preparation, and it works!
So at the end of the day, (or year) don’t disrespect the New Year’s resolution. In the grand scheme of things it’s nothing more than a goal that has a special day attached to it. Goals and second chances are critical things to have in the tool box for life. For me, New Year’s Day is the best of both. It is a time to reflect and be thankful for the year that has passed and to welcome in and be thankful for a new year and a clean slate. If you are going to start something new it’s a great time to hop in. New Year’s can be a game changer if you let it. You can’t move forward unless you change your habits
At midnight a blank page in your story will flip, the best stories are written with goals.
“Eat plants and move your body, all ya gotta do is a little more than yesterday.” 😉
Have happy, healthy, New Year and
Until next time,