As we flip the calendar to a brand new year, many of us will be tempted to make New Year’s Resolutions. You know, those promises you make to yourself of things you are going to do (or stop doing) that will surely make you healthier, wealthier and wiser . . . all by mid-February. They are probably eerily similar to the resolutions you made last year (and the year before) but this year is it! You are finally gonna stick to your promises and drop that weight or start going to your kids soccer practices or whatever is on your list.
My advice: Don’t do it!
Resolutions are destined for failure. They are short-termed changes to your normal routine that are not tied to any great master plan or goal and they come at the worst possible time of the year. Your body doesn’t care that it’s a new year. And despite the fact that you toasted at midnight (and maybe even toasted a little too hard at midnight) your mind doesn’t care either. Unless your birthday is January 1st, New Year’s Day is just some arbitrary, one-out-of-365 day occurrence that usually features a bunch of college bowl games that you try to get into. And it’s the worst possible day because so many of us wake up just a bit (or a lot) hung over and want nothing more than a little comfort food and to enjoy the day relaxing. Plus it’s the part of the year with the least amount of sunlight so dragging yourself to the gym in the pitch black is depressing and non-motivational. Spring seems so far away, why not keep these extra 20 pounds on during the winter, right?
But the biggest problem with January 1st is you tie your resolutions to that day, fail in the first two weeks of January (if not the first two days) and then have to wait a-whole-nother year for it to come around.
You want to make a change in your life? Instead of picking a date to begin by, pick a date to end at. If you want to lose weight, tell yourself, “by April 1st I’ll have lost ____ pounds.” This way when you stumble and have four slices of pizza on January 5th you won’t throw everything out the window and see yourself as an abject failure. You’ll just realize you have to be much better on January 6th to work off all that melted cheese and that delicious crust and that pepperoni that has just the right amount of spices and . . . sorry I was having a pizza fantasy.
You can do this with any “resolution” you are tempted to make next week. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to have goals. I’m all for them. I never would have grown Elite Entertainment to its current size or run 15 Marathons or published a book last year if I didn’t have goals (and deadlines.) But I’ve learned that tying my “life-changing moment” to some random date on the calendar is merely a recipe for failure. And I don’t want to wait a whole year to get a second shot at success. So set your goals long ways as in: by April I will ____ or by June I’ll have _____. And then figure out a plan to make it happen. And if you don’t get started till January 2nd, don’t sweat it.