It’s that time of year again…time for New Year Resolutions (NYRs). More than half of us make NYRs, but so what? One out of three give up before the end of January; one out of four don’t succeed on even one of their resolutions. Only one out twelve are successful on all their NYRs.
I make NYRs almost every year. I have never been fully successful and some years have been in the give up before the end of January group. I don’t say “I give up”—they just fade away. So for me and for most of us, “Why bother?” is a valid question. Actually, “Why bother unless I do something different?” is the question.
I am determined that 2012 will be different (sound familiar?). There are four things I intend to do differently.
#1 I will set reasonable and achievable goals. I don’t have any BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) in mind for 2012, just progress and completion. I am not suggesting you shouldn’t have a BHAG, but if you do, consider making it your only NYR because BHAGs require more than their share of time, energy, etc.
#2 I will have no more than five resolutions. The guy in the cartoon has already lost. There is no way for him to even remember, much less keep, such a long list of NYRs. I will set one goal in five areas: body, mind, soul, spirit and vocation (Hard Lessons). If I make progress in all five by December 31, then 2012 will be a great year.
#3 I will measure things that drive results, not just the results. For example, none of us ever lose weight by tracking how much we weigh. The daily weigh-in is a waste of time unless something is happening to actually drive weight loss. So, I intend to track what I am eating and how often I exercise, knowing these will drive the weight loss I desire.
#4 I will go public with my NYRs and ask someone to hold me accountable. Accountability is the key. Let’s be honest. It’s much easier to slack off on a secret NYR than a public one. Dottie (my wife) will be my accountability partner on some; some men I meet with regularly on others.
One final thing to remember: a good start is really important. Making progress is a great motivation to continue. If you are on track at the end of January, you will likely continue. Start slow and steady, then gain momentum as the year goes on.
By the way, I will let you know how I am doing on a regular basis. Hopefully, this will not be another “why bother?” year.
© Copyright 2011 by Dick Wells, The Hard Lessons Company
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I like to think of NY Resolutions in terms of goals. That makes it easier to start again if I slip up or have a setback. If I want to accomplilsh something by a certain date it takes away the ‘all or nothing’ concept we often attach to resolutions. I like your suggestion of connecting legitimate ways to track the progress, Dick. I always enjoy your blog posts.
Progress is what keeps me going. I don’t have a hard goal for anything this year except finishing my book by the end of June. Everything else, I am tracking progress.