Happy New Year! While you may be gung-ho about the New Year’s resolutions you’re going to start on today, I’m taking a less impassioned approach. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution, or if I have, I sure don’t remember doing so. Which is one reason I don’t (or no longer) make such resolutions – I typically forget that I’ve made them or I don’t follow through on them. Here are some reasons why you may have had similar brushes with unsuccessful New Year’s resolutions, and how you can make a more reasonable approach to new habits.
Why New Year’s resolutions are often unsuccessful:
Holiday hoopla can throw you off track. Late nights, frequent social engagements, and poor eating habits accompany many people’s holiday season. It can be hard to slam on the brakes and get back to your “normal” schedule and routine once the festivities wind down. It may not be realistic to expect that you can also work on new habits when you’re also trying to get back on track.
Fiscal year-end work is an added burden for those who run their own business, and for those who work in jobs that make this an especially busy time of year. The added work of bookkeeping/accounting, budget implementations, mandated program rollouts, etc. can make forming new habits an unrealistic endeavor right now.
Winter weather can dampen our spirits and make life more difficult. The depressive effects some people feel from the gloominess and cold can sap energy and make basic functioning a challenge. That’s certainly not a mindset that’s ready to take on new habits.
So what’s a diehard resolution optimist to do?
Choose another date to start your resolutions. While the first day of the year may seem like a logical time for new beginnings, any day of the year can be appropriate to start new habits. Maybe the first day of February would find you better-equipped to take on new behaviors. Or how about choosing your birthday, the anniversary of the day your life began, as the day to set your life on a different course?
Ease into your resolutions. Rather than attempting to take on a significant change all at once (e.g., get organized), choose smaller, more manageable steps. Turn these bite-sized elements into weekly or monthly resolutions (e.g., organize the coat closet, clean out the top drawer of file cabinet) and you’ll be more likely to achieve success.
Change your mindset. Most resolutions require a change in habits. Habit changes typically require a change in mindset. Do what you need to do to shift your mindset and set yourself up for success. For example, if you’re resolved to get (and stay) organized, you have to find a place for everything and then put things where they belong. That may require a change from the mindset of putting things here “for now” to that of putting things away, not just putting them down.
Wishing you a new year filled with many blessings and the joy of realizing your dreams.