Most New Years resolutions don’t stick.
Here we are, 17 days in.
If you’re struggling, it’s not too late to take a different approach. The cultural fortune and blessings, associated with proclaiming your resolutions aloud during the final countdown on December 31st, are lost. You get a 0-score for style/tradition points if you abandon your initial resolutions.
“No TRUE New Years resolution can start on January 17th!”
“Ok” [confidently brush your shoulders off].
Alas, this is a fact: a practice that works, started January 17th, is far greater than a resolution that started hot on January 1st and falls dead by January 22nd.
Author and success expert, Carol S. Dweck, has a chapter in one of her books that talks about fulfilling your potential. In it, she writes, “Genius is not enough; we need to get the job done.” Liken that to your New Years Resolutions, and you might realize that the genius behind your initial plan is only as meaningful as the actions that (do not) ensue.
“Genius is not enough; we need to get the job done.” – Carol S. Dweck (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success).
There is no cure-all, but let me offer an idea that has helped me tremendously. Spoiler alert: this will be the only time that I downplay “taking action”.
I began this at the beginning of the 2017 year, and applied it again this year. It works. Here it is:
3 THOUGHTS PER YEAR
At the beginning of each new year, pick 3 thoughts, or topics.
WRITE THEM EVERYWHERE – walls, post it notes, desk drawers, phone background, desktop, bathroom stalls… you get the point.
They need to be extremely valuable for the upcoming year, but NOT ACTIONABLE (this seems counterintuitive, but is very important. I will explain shortly). Specifically, if it will help you most from Jan-Apr, then strongly consider it. I am a believer that the way you start dramatically influences your end results. If my 3 thoughts help me begin the year with 4 amazing months consecutively, then odds are that the last 8 won’t be too shabby either.
The purpose of these thoughts is not to formulate a one-size-fits-all action plan. The purpose is to change your overall approach. Consider it ‘mindset training’.
NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS FAIL BECAUSE YOU PICK SPECIFIC ACTIONABLE TASKS ON DECEMBER 31st THAT ARE NO LONGER EFFECTIVE ON JANUARY 17th.
This has had a greater impact on my life than any diet, habit, or gym membership. Why? It’s about the attitude that you approach each day with. It always is. Your plan has to be able to ADAPT to looming adversity and a sporadic schedule. Your standards, however, don’t have to change.
Carry these THOUGHTS or THEMES with you everywhere, and use them the way that people use W.W.J.D. bracelets. Use these thoughts as a lens through which you see the world. Let them be a filter for your tough decisions.
Carry these THOUGHTS or THEMES with you everywhere, and use them the way that people use W.W.J.D. bracelets.
You will still be tasked with making good choices that contribute to your well-being, that is non-negotiable. The difference? You can adapt your daily action plan to your surroundings as needed. You can fail daily. You can succeed daily. But no failure or success will dictate the following day’s approach, which will change dramatically, but always contain with it, your 3 thoughts.
Reward and punishment system based on preset expectations for action, exit.
Enter, 3 THOUGHTS PER YEAR that influence your EVERY move. It becomes ok to fall down on a diet or meal plan from time to time if the goal is to “improve your Nutritional Education” rather than to “eat 100% Paleo Approved foods”. Thus, taking failure frustrations and lack of motivation out of the equation, and narrowing your focus on how to address each issue/choice individually. More simply, change 3 ways that you think about your day.
Best wishes. Love you all.
Here are the thoughts that I chose last year. They served me well.
2017 – Autonomy, Nutritional Education, Fearless
Here are the thoughts that I chose for 2018. So far, so good.
2018 – Critical Path, Composure, Blue-Chip