Is Your New Year’s Resolution Achievable?
There is something very attractive about turning the leaf on a New Year. Something inspirational. And an almost hypnotic attraction to “resolutions;” “This is the year I will change x, y or z.”
Or, the opposite of the hypnotic attraction, despair: “Resolutions are a waste of time. I never follow through on them; nobody does.”
I think the problem is that most people don’t set resolutions, they state aspirations.
Aspirations are wonderful. They inspire us. “I will be kinder this year.” “I will exercise regularly.” “I will stop procrastinating.” Aspirations aim for an ideal; they do help us move to our best selves. But they are not resolutions.
A resolution requires resolve. Tenacity, determination, commitment. Once you have RESOLVED to make a change, you carry it through.
Resolutions need to be backed up with goals and the steps to take to achieve those goals.
Aspiration: “I will be as healthy as I can be this year”
Resolution: “I resolve to begin including exercise in my schedule regularly.
Goal: “I will exercise three times a week on average, for one hour each time, for the next three months.”
1) “I will schedule my exercise time into my calendar at the beginning of each week, and treat it as a critically important commitment. If I have to change the time of my exercise, I will reschedule it as I would any other commitment.”
2) “I will join a gym this week” or “I will ask a friend to walk with me at least two mornings a week. I will make that call on Wednesday” or “I will schedule three ski days in the next three weeks.”
For goal setting, use “SMART” goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound.
Keep the time frames shorter than one year. Add in a “reassessment” at the end of your time period, so you can renew or revise the goals. Habits become somewhat self-sustaining after a couple of months.
Avoid all or nothing thinking. If you made progress on your goal, without hitting it exactly, that is still terrific. Remember, there is no perfection in real life!