We are already halfway through January. Many of you have probably made your New Year’s resolutions before the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. But how many of you are still sticking to them? Some studies show that roughly 78% of those who make New Year’s resolutions fail at sticking with them. I used to make New Year’s resolutions myself. But after a month or so into the new year, I went back to my old ways. So why do we keep playing this cycle of promises to ourselves when we’re only destined to break them?
The New Year Means It’s Time for Change
At least that’s what we’ve been programmed to believe. In reality, a new year just means that the number at the end of the date goes up one increment for the next 365 days. We all still have bills, jobs to go to, and families to take care of just like we did before the New Year was rung in. But we like to think that because we are starting a new year, we can make a bunch of changes to ourselves all at once. Most people make their New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Gyms love this time of year because it means a boost in their gym membership sales. Everyone is ramped up to slim down. But after the excitement of making the New Year’s resolution has faded, going to the gym or sticking to a diet means having to work at it. And that’s when most people start losing interest. If you want your resolutions to stick, then the best way to do it is to show up. Woody Allen was right when he said that 80 percent of success is just showing up. If you show up to the gym, you might as well work out.
We Like to be Ambitious
Wouldn’t we all feel so much better about ourselves if we achieved goals like running a marathon, climbing to the top of Mount Everest, or writing a 300 page novel? Of course we would. It’s in our DNA to be ambitious and try to accomplish extraordinary ventures. What we sometimes fail to realize is that we have to take baby steps to get there. Maybe not to the extent Bob Wiley took it to in What About Bob. But you can’t expect to run a marathon if you haven’t ever had any training. I would love to have a best seller novel published, but I’m guessing that’s not going to happen with the first book I write. It might, but it’s not likely. So I’m taking baby steps to get there. A couple years ago I tried out for a writing competition called NaNoWriMo where you are challenged to write 50,000 words within the month of November. I accomplished writing 15 thousand words my first time. That’s more than I have ever written for one outlet. This last November I achieved 25,000 words. This November, I may end up reaching my 50,000 word goal. I didn’t do it the first time, but I’m taking my baby steps to get there.
We all Want a Clean Slate
After going through twelve months of our lives becoming a habit, the New Year seems like a good time to start fresh and try new things. And why shouldn’t it? We buy new calendars that are clean and untouched of our appointments and meetings. We celebrate the night before with friends and loved ones on the hopes that the next year will be better than the last. We get caught up in the excitement of what the future holds. But no one says a clean slate has to begin at the New Year. If you have a desire to change something about yourself, whether it’s losing weight, being more organized, or trying something new, then run with it when it hits you. I started my weight loss goals in August and considered it to be an early resolution to myself.
Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions anymore. I just make resolutions. Any time during the year I find myself slacking in a certain area in my life, I make a promise to myself to change the bad habits I have slipped into. My health, my work, and personal aspects of my life shouldn’t have to wait until the New Year to be fixed. What experiences do you have with your New Year’s resolutions?