Like every year, there will be a ton of articles written over the next few days about why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work and why you shouldn’t make them. Yes, there are tons of stats about resolutions that are never achieved and that are forgotten a few weeks (or days, even) into the new year. However, New Year’s resolutions in and of themselves are not a bad thing. In fact, I like making New Year’s resolutions, and I encourage you to set a few yourself.
- Timing – The first day of a brand-spanking-new year is a great time to set a new course for yourself and approach something about your life with renewed determination. Of course, you can do that any day of the year – but there is something about the milestone of a new year that can be just the right stake in the ground for many people.
- An Opportunity to Reflect – Setting New Year’s resolutions requires that you take a moment to reflect on your past, your present, and your future – and consider what is important to you. That personal reflection and “thought”-fulness is an important part of our work with leaders, and something that many of us in our fast-paced technology-driven world, often find it very hard to do. Author and motivational speaker Brian Tracy says, “Just as your car runs more smoothly and requires less energy to go faster and farther when the wheels are in perfect alignment, you perform better when your thoughts, feelings, emotions, goals, and values are in balance.” Resolutions can help you to think about that balance – and aim to achieve it.
- Setting Goals – Making a New Year’s resolution is like setting a goal. You decide what you want to achieve, what you want to change or improve, and you determine to do it. Often where resolutions fail is in the lack of clear goals and measures. Rather than making a resolution to “eat healthier,” try a resolution with a clear goal and measure such as “I will prepare one vegetarian meal each week” or “I will switch to eating brown rice and whole-grain bread”. The more specific and measurable your resolution, the more likely you will be able to stay on track and achieve it.
- Rethinking your Priorities – Making resolutions and setting goals helps us to think about our priorities in life. As we get caught up in daily pressures and routines, it is easy to lose sight of what is really important to us and why we have made the choices that we have. As the new year arrives, we can re-commit to our priorities – whether it is our health, our family, our friends, our work – and make resolutions that support and focus on our priorities.
- A Time for Celebration – The best thing about New Year’s resolutions is that they come at a time of celebration and remembrance. As you leave 2010 behind and ring in the hope and excitement of 2011, ask yourself: What happenings from 2010 am I celebrating today? What do I want to carry forward into the new year? What do I hope for in 2011? What headline will I write about 2011 as 2012 approaches this time next year? What will I celebrate then? What is most important to me right now? What will bring more happiness and fulfillment into my life? And with that focus on celebration and remembrance, get out your paper and pen and commit to your New Year’s resolutions.
May 2011 be all that you want it to be – and more!!