I love beginnings, which is probably an Aries trait. It’s very exciting for me to be looking at all the possibilities and making the choices that will move something forward. Facing the Unknown is just FUN!
Jan 1st is globally recognized as a New Beginning. Since it’s coming up quick, I thought it would be fun to consider resolutions for 2014. I looked up the most common New Year’s Resolutions, and here’s what I got (at least for the USA):
- Drink Less (Alcohol)
- Eat Healthy
- Better Job
- Get Fit/Lose Weight
- Get Out of Debt/Save Money
- Quit Smoking
- Manage Stress
- Be Environmentally Friendly
- Take a Trip/Do Something Fun
You can’t argue with these – all of them are good for the individual person. Yet most of them will be given up before the year is even a quarter of the year through.
Why Resolutions Fail
There are a lot of reasons this happens, but here are some of the bigger ones:
Resolutions are picked based on “should do” instead of “want to.”
If you aren’t truly driven to the result, there’s really no hope. Other things will always get in the way, and exceptions will be made.
We Set Too Many Resolutions.
The human mind can only provide attention to so many things at any given moment. This isn’t a bad thing, or a not good enough thing. It’s just the way we are built.
We start at the end goal.
You make a resolution because it is something difficult that you are not already doing. So take the baby steps necessary to get there. AIM SMART and focus on one step at a time in the right direction.
The resolution isn’t big enough.
There’s a saying something like, “shoot for the stars because if you miss you’ll still have the moon.” It’s easy to walk away from something small. But something big and bold you are more likely to follow through and gain momentum, and even if you don’t reach your end goal, you’ll end up with something great.
Setting A Great 2014 Resolution
So knowing why the Resolution Fails is good, but being able to set one that has a high chance of success is much, much better.
I put a lot of thought into my resolutions; just being a certain level of fit or clearing out my debt, while important to me, are not going to define the success of my year.
So here are the questions I ask myself to figure out what that would be.
1. What would make me happier and life better?
There’s so much in this question alone. I think it’s best to write it all out on a blank page, in no particular order, and just really put anything down.
2. Do any options combine together?
I tend to do this subconsciously just writing like things next to each other on a page. Sometimes, at the end, I notice a couple groupings fit together and I adjust. Sometimes I even find that some issues are a result of another. You can do it like that, or you can group everything together afterword. Do whatever feels the best for YOU!
3. What’s holding me back?
This is often a hard thing for people to be honest about. But remember, this is for you, no one else. Sometimes it’s another person, sometimes it’s money, sometimes it’s your own fear. Whatever the barrio, it’s important to really look at what’s stopping you now for the next step.
4. How would I make these options reality?
This is where your resolution really will start to take shape. Look at the barriers to your better life. What can you do to overcome them and reach the better reality/life you put together in step 1.
5. Which options are for me alone and which parts benefit someone else as well?
Time to be selfless; if you are only focused on helping yourself, you are resigning yourself to going it alone. But when what you do has an impact on others, you can borrow their support when you need it, and you get to make an impact on the world (small or large).
6. Check: Which options actually make a difference if I accomplish them?
It can be easy to get carried away, so here is where I stop to make sure I’m building something that actually matters. As a teenager I could make the argument getting a car made my life better, helped my parents out since they would no longer have to chauffer me around, etc. But was my life really worse if I didn’t have a car?
7. Which do I want to do the most? (Rank them in Order)
If you don’t have a pure desire to see the resolution realized, you aren’t going to complete it. Period. I think all the time that I want to get back to the fitness level I was at when I practiced Martial Arts 4+ hours a day. But, in reality, that’s more of a “would be nice/should do” than a “I really at my core need this to feel fulfilled.”
8. Focus on the Top 1 or 2.
By this point, you may have several options for your resolutions. That’s great! But if you really want to achieve success, I recommend working with just one. At most two; maybe you have one really big important idea, and a small thing for yourself that you really need to accomplish.
9. Check: At the end of the year, if I accomplish nothing else, will I be successful if I reach this goal?
This is a big question. Be honest with yourself. Knowing this, and knowing what makes the answer yes, will serve you as a rock of motivation when you think about giving up.
10. If there were no obstacles, how could I make this even better?
Time to magnify your resolution by 1000x. What would be the best result imaginable from you accomplishing your resolution? How would you make that happen? Really make this the beyond ideal result.
Always aim higher than you need to because at best, you end off at a better point, and at worst you end up much closer to your initial targeted result.
Good luck & have an Awesome 2014!