Why I Dislike New Year’s Resolutions and You Should Too….

Every year January 1st rolls around, and every year I see the gym I go to get slam packed for that first month of the year. When I say packed, I mean so busy that I second guess working out during the month of January. However, when February rolls around, the place turns back into a ghost town and life resumes as normal for me. 

Why do I start with this experience of mine? Simple. All those “new” people to the gym have made well intentioned New Year’s Resolutions, and for some reason or another have failed to achieve their desired goal. Why?

The basic definition of the word resolution is “the act of determining.” Using this definition, let’s discuss the most common resolution: “I have determined that I want to lose weight.” That’s it.

* Resolutions have no action steps: How will you lose the weight?

* Resolutions are not measurable: How much weight do you want to lose?

* Resolutions are not constrained by time: By when do you want to lose the desired weight?

* What are the Pros of the desired outcome: I will feel better, be healthier, and have more energy.

* What are the Cons (if any) of the desired outcome: It takes time to workout- time away from family, money to join gym, etc.

So now, keeping the above in mind, isn’t it logical that I would dislike setting resolutions for the New Year? Simply determining to make a change is NOT enough- you have to break it down in bite size pieces. Hence the statistical probability of achieving a resolution: 8%! That’s right, only 8% of the people who set New Year’s Resolutions achieve their desired result!! WOW, what a defeating statistic. 

So, you may ask, how do I make changes personally and professionally? The answer is simple: SET GOALS. Goals have specific ACTION steps, are MEASURABLE, have TIME CONSTRAINTS, are CONSIDERED thoroughly and thoughtfully PLANNED.

Using the same losing weight example as above, here is what setting REAL goals would look like: “My goal is to lose 20 lbs by June 2014. I will achieve this goal by joining the local YMCA and hiring a personal trainer for the first month. That way, I can learn the best workout routine for me. I will also stop eating fast food for lunch and will pack my lunch daily. In addition, I will cut out all soda and sugary drinks. Once I achieve my goal, I will feel healthier and have more energy to be able to play with my very active children. I will also save money by bringing my lunch. Although I will need to workout at 6AM daily in order to achieve this goal, the desired outcome far outweighs the sleep I will sacrifice.”

Can you see the difference between the common resolution and the goal? People who set specific, measurable goals achieve the desired goal 40% of the time!! Wow, 8% compared to 40%! Thus you can see why I’m not fond of New Year’s Resolutions, but a big fan of setting goals.

For the past 10 years I have set time aside at the end of every year to do several things:

* Review the previous year

o What did I accomplish?

o What was I NOT able to accomplish?

o Did I achieve my goals for the year?

o What areas do I need to improve in?

o What areas did I do well in?

* Set goals for the upcoming year in areas such as:

o Personal

o Professional

o Familial (marriage and fatherly goals)

o Spiritual

o Vacation

* The key is that my goals are:  

o Measurable

o Constrained by time

o Specific

o Have actions steps

o Are weighed (Pros and Cons)

o And are written down (the MOST important step)

I encourage you, don’t waste your time on New Year’s Resolutions, but instead, start setting goals each and every year. Once you’ve done that, annually review your goals from the previous year to see how far you’ve come.

– Written by Aaron Getty