Let’s be honest. New Year’s Resolutions are passe, out of vogue, old school. They seem to have gone the way of Beanie Babies, the Jonas Brothers and Furbies. Rather than conversations about next year’s resolutions, it’s all about why no one does them anymore.
Since research says only 8% of us are always successful in achieving our resolutions and 24% make no progress at all, it’s no wonder that resolutions are in need of a new public relations campaign.
Maybe our problem is how we go about it. I think there is something here to be saved if we change how we think about it.
- Value of thinking big. Just taking the time to ask ‘what matters to me this year?’ or ‘what do I want to change?’ is very powerful. Our routine can overtake us and these questions are forgotten. This question can spur a new thought or step that wouldn’t happen otherwise. It’s very valuable to reflect on what we want our future to hold as it will affect the decisions we make today.
- Take a bite out of the elephant. We talk about this in our work all the time. If the challenge is big, find a way to take on part of it and move forward. This is true in our “resolutions”. Don’t say, “I’ll be healthier next year” – try a new habit you want to change like, ‘I’ll walk for 30 minutes four times a week.” Or, rather than “I want a new job.” – try a small step forward like, “I’ll meet with someone every week who can offer help or advice on changing my career this year.” Break the big goal into bite size chunks you can tackle.
- Try a New “Month” Resolution. It’s great to think big and long term, but revisit this more frequently – not just when you are pouring champagne on New Year’s Eve. Why not build in time at the end of each month to stop & think about your goals and plans for the next month? I see so many executives who don’t take time to really think or plan for what matters most to them and their success. Just that step alone can have an amazing impact. But, it’s needed more than once per year.
- Find your crazy. Who is going to get excited about “I’m going to be more efficient this year and not multi-task so much.” No wonder so many people give up on resolutions! Be like Marta and join a comedy improv group and learn how to think on your feet and push your creativity. Or Jean who traded in her van for the red convertible as a reminder to enjoy life and keep her sense of fun. Look for ways to find some pizazz in your resolutions that will keep your attention and that you will enjoy. And, rediscovering something we love can trigger unexpected results.
- The “Me” Recognition program. We know that success motivates us to keep working, so acknowledge even small successes. Even set it up that way. If your goal is to start your master’s degree ~ celebrate completion of that first course. It’s progress and a step forward. Acknowledge that the interim steps matter – it’s not all or nothing. Be kind to yourself, rather than focus just on your “opportunities” to get better. The first step is the hardest to take.
So, before you give up on resolutions this year, consider approaching them in a new way that isn’t just a once a year tradition that gets tossed aside after Auld Lang Syne. Take small steps, make them fun, pat yourself on the back, and keep dreaming big. Maybe it’s time to give that Furby a second look.
Happy January 2nd and let us know what you think about New Year’s resolutions.