I have seen a ton of blog posts, articles, news reports, etc about how new year’s resolutions DON’T work… and it’s making me really mad!
Resolutions DO work. Saying resolutions don’t work is like saying setting goals doesn’t work. They both work wonderfully. What makes resolutions and goals not work is YOU.
In past years, I have set resolutions that are more about my intention for the year than a SMART goal (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely). For my 2016 resolution, I set a SMART goal. The goal was this: run a total of 5 miles per week in 2016.
The result: it worked.
But what’s so different about my goal to run 5 miles per week and someone else's resolution to “workout more”?
When you opt for a vague resolution or goal, chances of success plummet. It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing: disguised as a well intended goal, it’s really out to make you fail.
If you are ready to make your 2017 your best year yet, check out these three suggestions on making sure your resolutions are successful.
1. Make it realistic.
Avoid setting resolutions that are so far from where you are at today. For example, setting a resolution to run a marathon before the end of the year could certainly be attainable but is it realistic? Do you have multiple hours per week to dedicate to training? Are you financially ready to invest in running gear, races and potentially, healing injuries? Is running even of interest to you or would something else be more meaningful for your life? The intent of this isn’t to burst your resolution setting bubble, but to set you up for success.
2. Consider breaking your resolution down into quarterly phases.
Just because a resolution is specific (such as my personal example), doesn’t mean you will achieve it. It was realistic for me to set a goal to run 5 miles a week at the beginning of this year because I was currently running about 3 miles a week. A way to break this resolution down to a realistic level could be to make it so you’re running 2 miles a week in Q1, 3 miles a week in Q2, 4 miles a week in Q3 and 5 miles a week by Q4. It’s still specific, and the overall gist of “I want to be more active in 2017” exists, but it has realistic milestones for you to achieve.
Hey - this also helps to align your resolution with your Quarterly Personal Retreats. Isn’t that neat?
3. Set an intention instead - and find a way to track it.
A lot of my new year’s resolutions have been a certain intention or topic I’d like to be mindful about throughout the year. For example, in 2014 I made it all about me and doing what I want (What did I even want? was the question i was really trying to answer). In 2015, my focus was my relationship with Dane. We’d be ending the long distance phase of our relationship, moving in together and starting our lives as an adult couple. I knew it would be a big change for us and I wanted to make sure we took care of our relationship through it all. My focus for 2016 was my future. I knew this year would be about positioning my life, health, relationships and career to be in alignment for the future I want for myself.
Here is what sets these types of resolution apart from a “I want to eat healthier this year” goal: having a way to consistently reflect on how it is going. I incorporate these types of resolutions in to my Quarterly Personal Retreats, my journaling, I keep it written on a post-it in my planner and in my journal… there are a lot of way to keep it front of mind so that you’re reminded to ask yourself “How is that going?”.
Note: Say you set one of these intentions for 2017 and then March comes along and you ask yourself “how is that going?” and the answer is a big fat “terrible” - don’t worry! It doesn’t mean your resolution didn’t work and it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It’s working because you are taking the time to check in with yourself and what you really want for your life. You’re not a failure because as soon as you recognize that it is off track, your creative self will find a way to get it back on track.
A special offer: I am offering a discounted one hour 1-on-1 coaching session to ensure your resolutions are ready for SUCCESS. It is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone - get your resolutions defined AND see the impact of working with a coach first hand. Fill out the form below to get started!