I haven’t broken any new year’s resolutions yet – I can proudly say that two weeks into 2019, but there’s a catch: I didn’t make any this year. I decided sometime around the last week of December that the list I was making was totally unrealistic, so I put it in the shredder and thought I would take a different approach and enter the new year unencumbered by my annual list of big things I knew I would never get done.
Judging by my past experience, I feel justified in doing this, but looking at the data about new year’s resolutions corroborated my decision. Only 8% of people successfully accomplish their resolutions, while 25% give theirs up in seven days and 40% after one month. So, there is evidence that making resolutions is not the best way to go.
I do understand the thinking behind resolutions because I have been making them for years, but my success rate never changed. I am definitely in that 25% demographic, but I have to say honestly that I usually don’t even make it through the first week and give up in few days after New Year’s Day.
After two weeks in 2019 I am feeling happier than I ever have been in January, even if the weather has been bleak and grim and an Arctic cold has descended upon us. One of the reasons is because I haven’t broken any resolutions, which used to make me feel quite depressed and defeated. I have nothing to chide myself about because I haven’t dropped the ball.
I get why I and many others wanted to make resolutions – starting the year off right seems like a wise choice, but it isn’t if you are almost certainly going to fail and then beat yourself up about it. I get the clean slate idea, which one of my friends said on New Year’s Eve as we discussed this topic. He seemed mortified when asking what my resolutions were and I said, “None!” I cannot describe the expression on his face better than saying it looked like the crazy emoji on my phone.
But you know what is crazy? Setting yourself up for failure. The feeling of freedom I have right now is so refreshing. I have no regrets, no should have or would have dones to be said, no guilty feelings of any kind. For the first time in years I feel free from the disapproving stare of my harshest critic – me!
The course I am taking in 2019 is more doable. I am going to set daily, weekly, and monthly goals that are achievable in a realistic way. For example, I am writing this article today and my weekly goal is achieved when I finish it – that goal is to write at least once a week. In the past I would set crazy writing resolutions that never had a chance of being accomplished.
Those of you who are punishing yourselves for already breaking a resolution – like someone I know who broke his resolution not to smoke in 2019 about five minutes after midnight – should take a different approach. My method feels right, at least for me, and the smaller more achievable goals are easier and, quite truthfully, do not feel as bad if they aren’t accomplished. Last week I didn’t get any writing done, but I didn’t get upset about it and said, “I will do it next week.”
I am much more satisfied this year and not walking around in a funk because of the resolutions I broke. Now, instead of failure, I am focusing on each thing I can accomplish in baby steps instead of a giant leap. If this sounds like something that will work for you, I hope you will find success with it.
Happy new year to you all and good luck!