Screw New Year’s Resolutions

The good news is that the holidays are over (breathe a sigh of relief for both your wallet and your calendar). The bad news is that it’s already the middle of January and you haven’t done anything about those New Year’s Resolutions. (eye roll)

I don’t know about you, but I hate the beginning of a New Year, just as much as I love it! Although I’m super excited for a new year and a new beginning, there’s just so much pressure to “make 2017 your best year yet!” (another eye roll) In the past, I’ve agonized over setting resolutions for myself…and then agonized because I failed at accomplishing them. If I’m being honest, I knew I would never accomplish them anyways. Lose 10 pounds, quit smoking, eat healthy, budget my money, save more… I’m sure you’ve heard (or made) them all.

If you’re like me, and you’re ready to say “Screw New Year’s Resolutions!”, read on! Here’s 3 reasons why New Year’s resolutions suck and the ONE THING you should do instead:

#1 Guilt and Shame

Simply put, guilt is an icky feeling you get from something you DID and shame is an icky feeling you get from something you ARE (or at least what you tell yourself you are). For example: You feel awful because you knocked over and broke your best friend’s lamp. That’s guilt…you feel bad because of a behavior. Now, same situation, but this time you tell yourself that you’re a horrible friend, that you can’t be trusted with things of value, and that your friend will probably never forgive you. That’s shame…you feel bad due to qualities of your character. See the difference??

The problem with New Year’s Resolutions is that they are opportunities for us to feel both. They are usually spurred on by a sense of shame (I’m fat, I’m irresponsible with money, I’m unhealthy) and not being able to achieve them only incites guilt (I couldn’t lose the weight, I never saved any money on that budget, I can’t even eat healthy). Anything that creates additional guilt and shame in our lives is unhealthy!

#2 Resolutions aren’t Goals

Just think about the word “resolution.” What comes to mind? Probably resolve, decide, or maybe even conflict. Gross! Words actually have two meanings: the denotation (the actual definition of a word) and the connotation (the feeling we get from the word). Both of these are super important when choosing the words we say, both to ourselves and to others.

When we think of the word “resolution,” what DOESN’T come to mind are goals, plans, or even ambition. When I’ve attempted resolutions in the past, rarely do I also make a plan (or at least a do-able one) to achieve my resolution. I also wasn’t TRULY motivated enough to make it happen. Simply making a resolution doesn’t provide for the action steps required to achieve it.

#3 Peer Pressure

Any Catholics in the room? The reason I ask is simply because Lent. How many of you have given up something for Lent just because you’re “supposed to?” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just ask one of your Catholic friends!) Seriously, I actually gave up ICE CREAM for 40 days just because I was supposed to sacrifice something. (oh, the humanity!)

The problem with this is that I did something because I felt I was supposed to do it instead of doing it because I wanted to do it. This is another reason why New Year’s resolutions notoriously fail: the resolution is made out of obligation, not because you are really ready to do something. Obligation ≠ motivation!

Now, the wait is over! Here’s the ONE THING you should do instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions:

(drum roll please)

Set a Goal!

Remember when I said that resolutions weren’t goals? That’s because goals are far superior to resolutions. With a goal comes a plan, which gives you markers for progress. Goal-setting is a far more elaborate process, and if done well, will be much more likely to lead you to success.

Here’s some quick tips to make your goals SMART:

S – Specific: Be specific about what it is that you want to do.

M – Measurable: Give yourself a way to measure your progress.

A – Achievable: Ensure you actually have the ability to accomplish your goal.

R – Relevant: Your goal should have meaning in your life RIGHT NOW.

T – Timely: Make sure your goal has a time frame and target date attached to it.

So, stop beating yourself up about those resolutions and start making some goals!!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Click for image)

 Until next time…

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