A Different Perspective on New Year's Resolutions
What if your goal's success wasn’t something to be achieved – but was something to feel. What if success was a spirit to keep with you in your heart all year long?
There’s a great line at the end of Charles Dickens’ novella, A Christmas Carol, where the old miser Ebenezer Scrooge commits anew to keeping Christmas in his heart all year long.
What’s great about that commitment is just how much it’s a reflection of how connected he felt to the spirit of not only a fresh start, but also all that’s possible for his life moving forward.
Thinking about fresh starts and all that’s possible for our lives in a new year is one of the most fun things about January. We feverishly and excitedly set goals, intentions or resolutions. We’re ready to see them through all year long.
But, sticking with them day in and day out over the course of 365 days can be rough. We get distracted, busy or tired; and life happens. That’s why only 8% of the population actually achieves their goals.
So, how do we keep our yearly goals, intentions, or resolutions in our heart all year long?
SET THE RIGHT GOALS FROM THE GET-GO
A lot of us grew up with SMART goals training. (Or was that just me?) The idea is that before you really, truly commit to a goal, you run it through the SMART goal filter. SMART is an acronym that recommends goals be Smart, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely.
When you set your goals for the new year, run them through that SMART goal filter. Can you say ‘yes’ to each of those five criteria about each of your goals?
Remember – your goals should each be a good, strong blend of what is do-able and challenging. It should be within reason and realistic for you, your body, your mind, your life; but it should also push you appropriately.
CHECK IN MORE APPROPRIATELY
Just like with a lot of new-fangled, exciting, much-anticipated things, we get really motivated by goals, especially fitness goals. We’re pushing hard the first several weeks to blow by both real and imagined milestones that we’ve set for ourselves. We’re making strides. We are DOING this.
Then, that work trip comes up; the ice storm happens; there’s that wedding weekend that’s taken, like, a week to recover from. And we lose momentum. It happens.
So, to compensate for it, we commit to checking in more frequently – maybe weekly, maybe daily. Now, that’s a heck of a thing to commit to for 365 days.
Consider changing that thought to checking in more appropriately for you. If checking in weekly is too much and quarterly check-ins are too far apart, how about a monthly check in? Or perhaps even twice a month – maybe every 15th and 30th? Whatever it is for you, set those check-ins now. Maybe even book them as a 15 or 20-minute appointment in your calendar now through the end of the year, so that they are non-negotiable, pre-scheduled. That frees up your brain to remember to check in, as well.
The idea is this – new year goals, intentions and resolutions should be treated like marathon training versus sprint training. So as much as you might love and respect the momentum of fast wins at the beginning of the year, it might actually be thwarting your effort for long-term, sustainable success.
Here’s another way to think about it for yourself: check in more respectfully. What honors or respects you, your time, energy, attention or momentum? Set check-in appointments that respect you and this goal you’ve set for yourself.
REDEFINE SUCCESS – IN YOUR TERMS
A lot of times we measure success with numbers – times, weight, speed, levels. In that sense, success is data. And that works when you’re working hard to bring your times down or work faster racing the clock and hitting a certain number of reps.
What if you redefined success as that strategic balance between the data and the feeling?
Yes, you’re getting faster, and do you feel more energy - or do you feel completed depleted?
Yes, you’re lifting more weight now, and are you feeling stronger? Or are you in pain and icing yourself after every workout?
Here are some fresh ways to redefine success as a feeling: Do you want to fall back in love with running? Do you want to have more energy to play with the kids this months versus last month?
Do you want to feel stronger this summer versus last summer? Do you want to get off that blood pressure medication?
We’re not going woo-woo here. We’re simply suggesting that perhaps success is the data – and the feeling that comes with the data. And that feeling should always be one of power, strength, courage and confidence.
And remember – your success is however you choose to define it this year.
When we look at the classic definition of the word ‘success’, we see some version of accomplishing an aim, purpose or goal. There’s always a finality to it. You experience success when you finish something.
But what if your goal success wasn’t something to be achieved – but was something to feel. What if success was a spirit to keep with you in your heart all year long?
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