Don’t Resolve! Plan.
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
Happy New Year 2012! Being a life coach whose work deals often with strategic goal setting, many people ask me, “How do you feel about New Year’s resolutions?” And my answer is: “I don’t recommend them.”
Surprised? Don’t be. Here’s why I oppose New Year’s resolutions:
-Resolutions are chock full of unhelpful emotions like obligation, guilt and shame.
Well-set goals motivate you and pull you forward; you are excited about the prospect of reaching them. I want you to feel good about yourself rather than beating yourself up. They usually entail adding something to your life (freedom, creativity, connection) as opposed to removing something.
-Resolutions are piecemeal.
I prefer to encourage you to take an overall look at your entire life not just one piece or another. To do this, reflect on your past year’s successes, then take a look into the New Year ahead and assess what you really want to add to different areas of your life.
-Resolutions are short lived.
Studies show most people start their resolutions with determination and grit on Jan. 1 and burn out by Feb. 1 (90% burnout in some cases). I would rather you use January for planning and don’t take action until Feb 1st. That will enforce some strategic reflection, caution, and thoughtfulness. This will also avoid any knee-jerk resolutions related to the overindulgence of the holidays and give a better chance of maintaining your plans by checking-in and adjusting as you move through the year. This way you create slow and steady momentum and progress.
-Resolutions are short sighted.
Most resolutions are often short term and immediate – get my house organized, lose weight or exercise more. Goals are far more effective when they relate to a bigger picture – a roadmap toward a better life. What is the reason you wish to de-clutter, diet, or exercise more? If the larger goal is to feel better about your living space, yourself or your health, you can have a more comprehensive and strategic conversation that is ultimately more effective.
This is your life. 2011 is one more year behind you. Don’t wake up in January 2013 making the same resolutions as this year. Start with some thoughtful planning instead. You will be much more motivated and produce real, long lasting results.
To a great year!