When you make resolutions before the new year, you’re looking out over the blank, upcoming 365 days with eager eyes. It seems like the perfect time to start fresh. And while I firmly believe in fresh starts and beginnings, I also think those eager eyes of yours will fool you into thinking your 25 resolutions are doable without more than a vague idea of how to accomplish them.
You don’t need resolutions. How likely are you to, all of a sudden one day, start a new exercise routine AND a new diet AND wake up earlier to write AND learn to meditate AND learn French AND learn the piano AND travel AND save more money AND volunteer more AND AND AND.
Of course, change can happen in one day, but it’s more likely to stick if you know how you’re going to make that change in the first place.
Why else do you think gyms are freakin’ packed for the first few weeks of January, then go back to regular capacity by February 1st? People run to the gym, sign those membership papers, go full force for a while, then lost steam because they haven’t figured out how to make this resolution stick.
That’s why making resolutions is a waste of time. Don’t even bother doing it unless you’re willing to figure out how to make them happen.
Instead of saying “I’m going to do this, this, this, and this starting January 1st,” say, “This is my desired outcome. These are the clear, actionable steps I’m going to take to get there.”
If you’re going to write a novel this year, it’s not enough to resolve to write a novel this year. You will probably never sit down to start that novel unless you help yourself begin and follow through.
So start thinking right now, not about your 2012 resolutions, but about your 2012 action plans. Figure out which bad habits you’re going to drop, and make it easy to do so. Decide which endeavors you are dying to accomplish, then lay it out from A to Z.
Give yourself a map. That is how goals get accomplished.
To write a novel: write 500 words a day. By the middle of the year, you’ll have a novel. You can spend the rest of the year editing.
Sign up for a class. Fill your reader with blogs that will keep you motivated. Create deadlines. Tell people about those deadlines. Make sure those people are the types to hound, nag, and repeatedly check on your progress.
Make yourself accountable and make the goal actionable, and you’ll be more likely to accomplish great things.
There’s no shame in planning. Set that start date, decide what success looks like for you, and figure out how you’re going to get there. Be specific. Don’t give yourself an easy out. That’s what flimsy resolutions are for.
Do you make resolutions each year? Do you think they’re a waste of time?