Why I Don't Set a New Year's Resolution
Let’s Get Real for a Sec…
I HATE NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS
Yup…I said it. It’s New Years Resolution time of year and I’m going to go out on a limb here and tell you that I hate New Years Resolutions. Why? Well, let me break it down for ya.
There’s no urgency. New Year’s resolutions usually take the form of a New Years goal, and I’ve learned from experience and lots of failurethat yearly goals don’t work. Why? Cuz there’s no urgency. I love how they discuss this in the book “The 12 Week Year”, but basically the jist is this. When you set a yearly goal, there’s an urgency and excitement at the beginning, but eventually, you fall off track and there’s no urgency to get back on track until November. A month or two though? That’s almost two urgent.
We overestimate what we can get done. Tony Robbins says: “Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in 10 years.” And unfortunately, that tendency is a recipe for a disaster because when we don’t complete what we hope to over the course of the year, we get frustrated and discouraged, leading to less motivation and that lowered motivation is crippling.
What’s a priority now may not be a priority later. I follow a number of people and they always talk about working in “seasons”, whether they last a week, a month or multiple months. But the point is that there are seasons to life and seasons each and every year of our lives. One season may be very focused on family, while another may be very focused on health and another may be focused on career. These seasons aren’t always predictable, though, and it’s impractical to assume that the goals you set at the beginning of the year will still be your priorities in 6-9 months.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO INSTEAD?
Ya’ll know I’m very goal-oriented, though, am I right? That’s something about New Years resolutions and all that which I love. That we’re being proactive about making a change and that is something I think we should continue. But, perhaps we should change up the “how” and the strategy.
Set an intention that will color your year. This is something that I do condone. But what do I mean by setting an intention? I talked a little bit about this in my New Years podcast, but what I mean is this. In 2015, I decided that I wouldn’t have a New Years resolution, but instead, I would set an intention. A word, more specifically. And that word would be fearless. I would choose to be fearless that year and do the thing that scares me, made me uncomfortable and challenged me. And when I failed, I would get up, dust myself off, and continue. And I did, 2015 was a big year for me. A year in which I started this website, ran my first half marathon, did my first obstacle course race and ran my second half marathon. I totally believe that you can set an intention for your year in a similar fashion and that it can be a powerful way to approach your year. My suggestion though is to keep your intention and your word general enough that you can apply it to any and every goal. Some suggestions? Fearless. Intentional. Connection.
Set quarterly goals instead. Frankly, I like quarterly goals. Just enough urgency that you don’t lose site of the deadline, but long enough that you can actually make some progress and get shit down. I love setting quarterly goals. It allows me to make a ton of progress over the course of the year and it allows me to achieve a number of different goals in a variety of places. You know how we talked about working in seasons? Setting quarterly goals allows you to have multiple seasons throughout the year. Maybe 1 season = 1 quarter. Maybe 1 season = 2 quarters.
Set no more than 3 goals at a time. A big mistake people make, myself being included, is that they set too many goals at a time. The problem with this is it dilutes your effort. If you spread yourself too thin with too many goals, you won’t make effective progress on any of them. As I discuss in my free 3-part webinar series, I like to set 2 goals in my weakest areas so that I can bring them up to snuff and then a 3rd goal in an area that I’m strong in. I believe in reinforcing my strengths and building up my weaknesses. Not only does this make it so I’m not neglecting any part of my life, but focusing some of my energy on an area I’m strong in gives me motivation. If you focus on 3 weak areas and you’re struggling in all 3 of your major goals, that can be disheartening. So I like to give myself a motivational boost by giving myself a goal that is a bit of an easier win.
Check back in and re-calibrate constantly. In my 3-part webinar series, I teach how to use a tool I call the life evaluation. What I love about this tool is it allows me to re-evaluate where I’m at relative to where I want to be and course correct as necessary. Some people do this check-in on a monthly basis. I don’t like that. A month, as we’ve said, is too frequent. You may not have made the progress you wanted in certain areas. So, I like to use this tool on a quarterly basis once I’ve completed my quarterly goals. That way, those goals and that progress can be reflected in my life evaluation and I can see where I’m at and set new goals in the areas that need attention the most.
In Summary…this is what I’m doing this New Years to set goals and move forward
Evaluate where you’re at using the life evaluation tool, which I teach in my free webinar series.
Set 3 goals – one in your 2 weakest areas and one in one of your strongest areas.
Create an action plan for each goal, but also focus on the one thing that is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck in terms of achieving that goal.
Check in on your progress on a weekly and monthly basis to make sure you’re on track.
At the end of March, check back in with your life evaluation, and then repeat steps 2-5 for the next 3 quarters.