Forget New Year’s resolutions

Are your new year plans clear?

Are your new year plans clear?

If you’re like many people, then your New Year’s resolutions won’t last the week.

Do you really want to change?

Change is the only real constant in our lives. Yet most of us resist it, or at least actively avoid it. So, it seems reasonable, and possibly inevitable, that our New Year’s resolutions are plans soon forgotten.

Genuine change requires commitment.

New Year’s resolutions often involve losing weight, exercising more, drinking and smoking less or perhaps finding a better job or working less. We begin the New Year with motivation and desire but as the weeks go by it’s easy to return to our earlier behaviour patterns, settle into old habits and let go of our resolutions until the following year.

It turns into one big cliché. Perpetuated by the ‘New Year, New You’ propaganda pedalled by the weight loss companies, fix-it-fast exercise equipment salespeople and magazines promising the next ‘miracle diet’.

It’s mostly wishful thinking. That’s because behaviour, once established, is hard to change.

We would like to weigh less but don’t want to give up our eating habits; we want to be fit but don’t want to get out and exercise. We want the outcome of behaviour change but not the process. We focus on the loss (can’t eat my favourite food) rather than the benefit (I have a healthy body). No one talks about New Year’s resolutions in February.

That’s why realistic goals are better than resolutions.

What belief, desire and energy can you put behind a realistic goal? What action will you take today? What is the benefit you want? What this means in terms of change is not just changing, but working out why we need to change.

The change we want for ourselves is always available to us. If we embrace that change and invest ourselves in its potential, it’s likely to be successful.

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2 Responses to “Forget New Year’s resolutions”

  1. Chris van der Pol Says:

    Nice one WLBB.

    The New Year is essentially a socio-historical construct and one of the many key dates we experience. There’s also the new financial year, new school year, new business quarter, new football season, new semester, half-year dividend payout as well as pay days, birthdays and anniversaries … the list goes on.

    That being said, it is understandable that many of us focus on the New Year as a key ‘restart’ date. The New Year follows a period of, quite often, excessive expenditure and consumption, following which one often feels compelled to get things back on track and to re-evaluate one’s goals. The Christmas-New Year period also brings with it, for many of us, a time to relax with your loved ones and to reflect on what we have created for ourselves in the past year.

    I think an important idea is to move from milestones to the moment. As a wise man once said to me (oh yeah, it was you …), every day is an opportunity to reflect upon your goals and to consider whether your actions that day have moved you closer to, or further away from, achieving those goals.

    So yes, you need to set your goals, but through consistent, incremental action in the moment, the milestones will take care of themselves.

    So let’s all work on turning those New Year’s resolutions into an All Year Evolution.

    • WorkLifeBankBalance Says:

      Thanks Chris,

      You’re spot on and the start of the new year is a natural time for recallibration and reflection. The point, as you say, is that we need to be reviewing ourselves, our actions, beliefs, goals and motivations everyday. The New Year’s Resolution isn’t a serious attempt at change, it’s lip service to a higher need, nothing more (usually) than a passing notion that making a change could be a good thing, maybe.

      Very nice response Chris, you write very well and look forward to hearing more from you in the future.

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