Resolutions are a hot topic for January. Do you do them? Don’t do them? Although resolutions can be set at any time of the year, people generally equate them to January and a fresh start.
The question remains, are resolutions a good idea? The answer is simple…. It depends.
Resolutions – When They’re a Good Idea
The truth is, resolutions don’t necessarily work for everyone. Even if you are a well organized and detailed person, maintaining resolutions over the long term is often overwhelming. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that 80% of people abandon their resolutions by February! On the flip side, people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than those who don’t make resolutions.
Resolutions could be a great thing for you if:
- They are simple and achievable
- You prefer having tasks to keep you on track
- Self reflection is important to you
- You’re a planner
- You are self motivated
- Established goals help you stay focused and have a clear direction
- You become easily confused or overwhelmed without knowing what comes next
- It makes you feel good to accomplish tasks
- You measure progress checking off goals
- You are SMART with your resolutions: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound
Resolutions – When To Think Twice
Failing to keep resolutions often results in feelings of inadequacy or lost hope. Personally, I don’t set hard resolutions for this very reason… I don’t want to feel bad about things I didn’t do. It comes down to really understanding yourself, what makes you happy and what can trigger you.
Resolutions might not work well for you if:
- You have a hard time staying motivated
- Control of the outcome is not up to you
- You are confusing habits (easier to break) with behaviours (require long-term focus)
- You become easily depressed or unmotivated if you don’t succeed
- The focus is to fix, eliminate or give-up, especially if it’s something you enjoying doing
Resolutions – There is another way!!
Keith McArthur, author of Winning Resolutions, encourages people to start their resolutions when the time is right (not just on New Year’s Day) and to treat it as a commitment, not just a wish.
Instead of resolutions you could:
- Create a new behaviour: Instead of eliminating something from your life, try adding to it! For example, instead setting a goal to “loss weight”, try adding “eat more vegetables” to your goal list.
- Set short-term goals: Life often gets in the way of our best intentions so instead of trying to maintain a goal over the long term, set a more reasonable timeline. Instead of saying you’ll achieve a goal by the end of 2021, perhaps set March 31 as a target date and focus on getting it done before you lose your motivation.
- Think backwards: Applaud your accomplishments from last year rather than focus on what hasn’t happened yet. Having a list of all the great things you’ve done in 2020 is a lot more rewarding than having a long list of “might dos” for 2021.
Whether or not you set New Year Resolutions, always remember that the ultimate goal is to do something that makes you happy. Don’t set yourself up for failure but rather create goals that you are confident are manageable. And again, no one said you have to create your list all at once! Perhaps start with one goal that can be achieved in the short-term and then build upon them as the year progresses.
I recently wrote an article about Project Planning for Bloggers but looking back, I realize that many of the suggestions there can also be applied to setting resolutions! You might find that interesting if you’re currently planning your resolutions.
I’ve decided not to set any specific resolutions quite yet but I definitely will plan my goals on a monthly basis. For me, that’s what works.
How about you? Are you planning to set resolutions for 2021? Tell us about your process in the comments below!