I’ve always been skeptical about New Year’s resolutions. The concept itself is not a bad one. It’s important to update and challenge oneself in order to be able to set new goals. However, we often find that these resolutions are far from being effective and sustainable over time. I would like to explain in this article why New Year’s resolutions are a trap to avoid.
Your year actually starts later
We all have different cycles within a year. These are linked to our lifestyle, our personal and professional environment and our location. Thus, in my case “the new year” in the sense of a new beginning in terms of a cycle often starts in March. This is usually the time when I start to lift my head off the handlebars and start to see more clearly about my goals.
It is then that I set up my action plan for the coming year (and thus until February of the following year). I also hate the months of January and February, which come right after the euphoria of the holidays. In January one is often brutally confronted with reality and daily life again. It takes some time to readjust. This is why I think we should avoid setting goals at the beginning of January. These goals will often be based on our excitement of the moment. However, a deeper reflection on what we are actually able to accomplish is needed.
It is not a natural intention
New Year’s resolutions are a trend that you may feel compelled to participate in even if you don’t really believe in them. And as mentioned earlier, they are often made on impulse. They are empty promises made by convention rather than for yourself. So making resolutions on January 1st of each year is far from being a natural intention that you would make on your own without outside influence. This is why I advise you to listen to yourself and learn to recognize your own rhythm. Your goals should remain personal so if you don’t want to drastically change your life habits it is your choice. And it is always better to be realistic than to set too ambitious goals that will only create stress and frustration.
There is no right or wrong resolution. There are resolutions that will be adapted to your goals and your current situation and others that will be less so. Also, a resolution doesn’t have to be impressive to be acceptable. On the contrary, it is the small changes that make the biggest successes. So, I advise you to divide your goals into small tasks that you can do regularly. Then, the more comfortable you are, the more difficult and intense you will be able to increase their difficulty and intensity over the course of the year.
For example, if you want to quit smoking, you can already set yourself the goal of reducing your cigarette consumption during the first quarter of the year. Then once you have reached this first stage, you can also perhaps limit the times when you allow yourself to smoke: in the morning with your coffee, in the evening after dinner. You’ll reach your goal gradually without the stress of having to quit right away. And it doesn’t matter if it takes you 18 months instead of 12. The most important is to stay consistent and keep in mind your ultimate goal of taking care of your health.
You’re unlikely to stick to your New Year’s resolutions
This comes from the previous points. When your intention is unnatural and you set goals that are too ambitious, then you are unlikely to keep your resolutions. How many of us abandon our goals after only a few days after realizing how unrealistic they were? And yet, like an addiction, many continue this same ritual every year, hoping that this year will be different.
It’s not the year that has to change for you to achieve your goals, it’s you. Your priority is to work on your state of mind and ask yourself why you haven’t reached your goals so far. The aim is not to make you feel guilty but simply to see what works or doesn’t work for you so that things will indeed be different in 2020 and for the years to come. Sometimes it doesn’t take much. And if you really want to make resolutions in January, the only ones I think you should make are to work on your personal development. Let go of the past mistakes and to build the positive mindset that you’ll need to reach your goals.
I hope 2020 will bring you everything you want. I’m sure this year will be a turning point for you and for me. If you want to share your views on New Year’s resolutions I invite you to do so in the comments section.