What’s not to like about the holidays? Homes, businesses and streets are all lit up, and of course, there’s our New Year’s resolutions. The holidays are the perfect time of year to renew our hopes and dreams for a better self!
About 50 percent of the population makes a New Year’s resolution, but only nine percent manage to keep it. 91 percent fail at keeping their New Year’s resolutions every year and yet half the population reboots and does it again. Year after year.
I was one of the 50 percent, and I was also was one of the 91 percent that failed. I would famously make grand claims for something I was going to achieve and counted on the people listening to keep me accountable. “I’m going to quit smoking or I’m going to lose 20 pounds.” Telling other people is what made it real and what helped me stay motivated.
Then, some years ago, it hit me while I was writing my book Perfect Pain, “Why am I making resolutions for the new year?”
I started to think about the “why.” Was I doing this for myself or to impress others? Once I gained a better understanding of the “why,” it became less and less important for me to share my personal goals with others. My goals for a better me are just that, for me! And If I truly have the conviction and desire then why do I feel the need to talk about it with others?
The second thing that hit me was the notion of the importance behind January 1st. I get it, it’s like a reset and a little fun at the same time. But does starting on January 1st increase the chances of success? The odds are that they won’t, and I can argue that it decreases the chances because it’s implied that we don’t really have conviction if we need to create a “game” around something that is in the spirit of self-development.
There are many reasons why 91 percent fail at New Year’s resolutions. And I have no desire to tell you why or how to not fail, I want to throw out an alternative idea instead.
Don’t make one in the first place if you REALLY want to achieve something:
1. Start now – If there is something you want in your life and you find it important, then don’t wait until some imaginary date to begin. Start now! There is power in that. When you focus on this date it means you aren’t ready and that you don’t genuinely want to achieve this and likely you will fail!
2. Too much pressure – A specific date and specific year sounds good to start on a new path but that’s just it, it sounds good. But it doesn’t increase the odds of you being successful. What happens when you have a bad day or a bad week and fall off the behavior you are trying to change? Having made this grand year-long gesture will now seem like a much bigger failure than it really is. It’s okay to fail if you didn’t tell anyone and make a grand proclamation in the beginning, then when you have a set-back you view it as just that: a set-back! Then you just get back up and re-start, you don’t have to wait until the following year.
3. Do it for yourself- Resolutions are personal especially if they mean a lot to you or if they carry some major ramifications for your life. If so, then you don’t need to talk about them or tell anyone. The only one that needs to be impressed with your hard work is YOU, which isn’t easy. I’m a student of this concept and continue to work on this notion every day. I have to continuously remind myself that my self-improvements are for ME first and foremost and not for others.
Happy Holidays! May all your hopes and dreams become reality.
Evaluating your happiness as we head into the new year? Take my Self-Sabotage Assessment and learn if you are standing in the way of your own happiness.