Are New Year's Resolutions B.S.?

I have to be honest with you, I have a love-hate relationship with New Year's Resolutions. The fact that we have to wait until a calendar tells us it is time to change doesn't sit well with me, since every second of every day is an opportunity to make a change in our lives. I’ve been there - counting down the days of freedom until January 1st when it is time to clean up the mess we have made.

I am all too familiar with the "my diet starts Monday” mentality. This may present itself in your life as "I already ate the cheeseburger and fries today, so I might as well wash it down with a big piece of chocolate cake”. This is something that I have also heard called the “f*ck it mentality.” We set out with the best of intentions, and our bright and shiny goals in our back pockets. We want it. I mean, we really want it. Often we have tried before, but something gets in the way. We get busy, life gets in the way or it is too much too soon. Our goals tend to be inflexible, while our lives require flexibility. There are countless reasons why resolutions let us down, and often restarting just seems too hard. The way I see it, New Year’s Resolutions usually set us up to fail.

The word resolution means a firm decision to do or not to do something or the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter. 

The word resolute means admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering.

I am here to give you a re-solution. I strongly believe in setting goals and having a vision for ourselves. Achieving small wins, or steps towards our big vision gives us gratification and that gratification is what keeps us motivated on the days when things don’t feel as planned. We are still able to recognize that we are on the right track overall. We are moving in the right direction. Knowing where we want to go is also crucial for us to recognize when something is aligned or not aligned with our goals.

“Passion doesn't need to be constantly fiery and all consuming. It can be steady curiosity and commitment.” This quote from Danielle LaPorte’s Firestarter Sessions speaks beautifully to how we should view our efforts towards our goals. We do not need to be perfect with our goals. There will be days when you hit it out of the park and exceed your expectations, others where you check all the right boxes, and others where you may let yourself down. As long as our momentum is there, the movement will be in an upward direction over time. If we can develop a passion for these goals, then each day with small steps we will move towards them.

Our resolutions or goals need to be broken down. We need to have an end goal, or a vision for ourselves and it is that vision that motivates us. But if we try to go from 0 to 100 in one go, we will rarely succeed. Setting this ultimate goal is necessary so that we can remember each day why we are headed in the direction that we are.

I have spoken with many people about their resolutions or lack thereof. I saw the same common pitfalls in their best efforts and plans. Vision, expectations and accountability are usually a part of the problem. For most, deciding on a goal is easy. We want to lose ten pounds, we want to eat healthier, we want to cut back on alcohol. But creating the manageable and feasible steps to get us to the goal is harder. Our expectations of ourselves tend to not factor in the ways that life can get in the way and slow the pace of our progress. Often we set too many goals, and too much change in too little time sets us up for disaster. The issue of accountability comes into play for most people too. Being self-motivated sometimes isn’t enough to keep us going in the long-term. A year is a long time and the first months are the most crucial for establishing lasting change and new habits in our lives. Our loved ones are wonderfully supportive, but I have found that having an expert on your side to keep you on track helps to guarantee your success.

PS: Maybe you should make your resolutions different this year by bringing a nutritionist onto your team? ;) I will help you establish your vision, map out the route to get there, prepare for the roadblocks that will inevitably come up as the year goes on, and hold you accountable each step of the way.