Millions of people around the world celebrate New Years’ Eve with hope and expectation of a fresh beginning; a blank page to write a new and brighter chapter in their book of life. After the confetti has settled and the sun rises on January 1st, the inspired get to work building the framework of their fresh new year, i.e. resolutions.
Resolutions are a magnificent, revolutionary thing. Sure, they have a bit of a bad reputation with a defeated after-taste, but, you can break the cycle of lengthy wish lists, fevered hustle, and inevitable burnout by implementing a fresh outlook and strategy for creating the year you envision. Let’s get to work.
Change Your Thinking: The Root of the Resolution
“When you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen.” – Fabienne Fredrickson
“I want to lose weight.”
“I want to have more money.”
“I want to completely reinvent myself.”
Haven’t we all been there? Too many times.
According to Dr. Avya Sharma of the Canadian Obesity Network, the majority of failed resolutions can be attributed to unrealistic goals and expectations. Cue “false hope syndrome.” Identified by psychology professor Peter Sherman and his colleague, Janet Polivy, they argue that people fail because resolutions made are ambitiously unrealistic and out of alignment with their internal view of themselves. This internal aspect of failure can be the most damaging, because many people set goals with the expectation that its achievement will positively affect a succession of areas in their life, but more often than not, that’s simply not the case.
“People often want to lose weight because they believe that it’s going to improve their lives — career, health, social life,” states Sherman, “What a lot of people find is that even when they get the number on the scale down to where they were hoping it would be, those things don’t happen.”
It’s time to evolve our thinking and shift our focus inward. Do you want to lose weight or do you want to gain self-love? Do you want to make more money or do you want to be less encumbered by financial stress? Resolutions have a significantly higher chance of success when you concentrate on your behaviors, thought patterns, and emotional climate.
Peter Bregman advises creating an area of focus rather than goals. In the Harvard Business Review Blog Network, Bregman stated, “An area of focus taps into your intrinsic motivation, offers no stimulus or incentive to cheat or take unnecessary risks, leaves every positive possibility and opportunity open, and encourages collaboration while reducing corrosive competition. All this while moving forward on the thing you and your organization value most.”
When you’re honest and focus on the emotional root of your desires, not only are resolutions realistically defined, but you now have a meaningful and positive platform that encourages your resolve and has lasting success.
Strategy: The Compound Effect
“I am learning every day to allow the space between where I am and where I want to be to inspire me and not terrify me.” – Tracee Ellis Ross
Researches have observed the success rates of New Years’ Resolutions and the odds can be dim: The first two weeks executed beautifully, but by February, people are backsliding. Come December 92% of people are back to where they started, if not further behind.
In order to achieve a spot in the golden 8% of the successful resolution-crushers, you have to work how they work, and that is with a strategy.
Darren Hardy, author of “The Compound Effect” and successful, self-made millionaire attributes all of his success to the “compound effect,” which is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, thoughtful choices. The process is profoundly simple, but produces massive success.
Small, smart choices + consistency + time = success
When creating and executing your plan of action to achieve your resolutions, make small choices, or goals, that add up to achieving your overall goal. In doing so, you avoid being overwhelmed and the inevitable burn out. Also, a revolutionary perk to this method is that you create positive habits that add lasting value to your quality of life.
Outlook: A New Way of Life
It’s important to realize that New Years’ Resolutions have no rules, limitations, or guidelines other than the ones you make for yourself. Improving the quality of your life and building a happier self shouldn’t be confined to annual timelines, but should be a journey of life. There is no true start or end date, no competition. Your journey is whatever you make it be. Release the unnecessary pressure and keep it simple. You have the power. If you create honest, realistic intentions and make consistently small, thoughtful choices towards your goals, there is nothing you can’t accomplish. Now, go crush those New Years’ resolutions.