There’s a certain amount of dread I find as the New Year approaches. I feel an obligation to talk about resolutions and goals, as this is the expectation for this event each year. Part of me wonders how many of you actually set New Year’s resolutions. Or how seriously you take them. As time passes, I have a sense that people sitting down to make their list has dissipated over the years. It seemed like everyone did it when I was kid and you needed to be prepared since someone (more likely several people) were bound to ask you what your goals were for the coming year. I’m not sure how many of us view this event the same now.
And let me be perfectly clear, I am all for setting goals. I’ve mentioned before that I just personally resist this once a year on January 1st list making. I strive to incorporate it into my life, throughout the year. I do dislike how we have the potential for undermining our confidence by setting goals and not meeting them. This feels extremely contrary to the intention. What I want for all of us is positive self-regard, the feeling of being successful in all our life. Anything that challenges that needs to be reevaluated in my book!
So, let’s talk about goals here. You probably know all the guidelines – start small, set concrete and specific goals that you can measure, and keep the list short. I’ve even written about these things before in Goals, Already?
Yet I can’t help but wonder, maybe we half-heartedly set some New Year’s resolutions simply expecting that they probably won’t happen. Most people I’ve talked to know about the above guidelines for being successful in setting goals and yet when they’ve set goals, they’ve neglected to develop their goals far enough to apply those guidelines. That’s part of why it occurred to me that New Year’s resolutions might have become almost an almost rote task for some of us.
Probably the biggest thing for me is that taking steps to reach our goals can’t be so easily proscribed. I remember years ago I desperately wanted to lose weight. I went through phases of wanting a quick and easy fix since I blamed some medication for my weight predicament. Then I accepted that there wasn’t going to be any quick fixes and made some beginning efforts at exercising. Those often faltered with the realization of how far I had to go – even 5 minutes on a stationary bike was exhausting. Then finally I was able to commit to the process, starting small with specific goals at 5 minutes each time 3 days a week. That progressed to 1 hour 5 days a week and guess what – the weight came off.
Except that this goal had to move through various stages before it was truly prepared to be my goal. It took me a long time from the “I want to…” until I was ready to set small and specific goals. That didn’t correspond to any set date on a calendar.
And this really is the crux of why part of me dreads writing about setting New Year’s resolutions, I don’t want to propagate that you need to set goals at this time of year. You don’t need to be ready to make changes this moment. Changes take time and you really need to be prepared in all ways to begin to make those happen.
Therefore, if you are ready to make a New Year’s resolution, go for it. If you’re not, then cheers to you too. And remember the other part of New Year’s is to review your successes over the past year – I hope there were many. Happy New Year and I hope it’s a fabulous one.