But today I want to talk to you about the DARK SIDE of New Year’s Resolutions. The parts your Mommy and Daddy forgot to warn you about.
Of course, December is a great time to pause and reflect on your year, since most people slow down a bit over the holidays and spend some quiet time with family. But what usually happens in December? Well, I know for most people things actually speed up and get a bit crazy. Christmas parties, over-eating, drinking a bit too much, spending more than we should, skipping some workouts, and trying to see and please everyone. Sound familiar? We try so hard to cram everything into one month, we forget that in life, we are in a marathon. Not a sprint. But December always seems to be sprint month.
So when January comes around, we get these feelings of guilt, and set our “resolution” to do better next year. And then we end up creating a situation where we feel lazy and weak because we didn’t hit our goals.
And the worst place to try and set goals from is that of insecurity and guilt. So why do we keep doing it to ourselves?[Tweet “The worst place to try and set goals from is that of insecurity and guilt. “]
Most often, we take a look at our lives from the place of what we don’t want, then set our goals to fix our problems. That is more harmful to your psyche than anything you do. And it is hard enough when we do it with just one aspect of our life. But come Resolution time, we STACK our issues together and bombard ourselves with a myriad of negativity. Or as I read in an article by Dr Guy Winch, he calls it “goal binging.”
In the study, they say, “…goal-setting is currently viewed as an essential mechanism responsible for successful growth and adaptation, but often without a recognition of the complex volitional challenges that arise on the way to goal attainment.”
The challenges go far beyond sheer willpower, but what can we do?
Let’s look at the top five resolutions people typically make:
- Lose weight
- Improve finances
- Eat Healthier
- Improve Relationships
- Get a new job
Sound pretty normal, right. Well, where are those coming from? Most likely, they stem from mistakes you made as you closed out your year.
So here are a few tips to say, “Screw you, resolutions.”
1) Remember this discussion about resolutions…NEXT YEAR.
Your best defense will be a good offense, come next December. I can bet that pretty much all the resolution posts you will read over the next few days will talk about what goals to set, how to plan, how to hit your targets, and all sorts of stuff like that. And there is some great advice out there. But the real masters of their own lives will start thinking about how they want to CLOSE out next year now, rather than how they want to OPEN it. At the end of next year, where do you want to be? How do you want to feel next December? Who do you want to be surrounded by? Well, don’t let December come at you by surprise again. Set your goals for the entire year and then break them down by month. December included.
2) Rather than goals or targets, set habits. And set them for the long term.
It is easy to do something consistently for 30 days, or better yet, 90 days. Think P90x, 90 Day challenges, and stuff like that. But the reason these systems fail is that we get totally lost after we hit the finish line and revert back to old habits. They don’t prepare us for the next round. Which, subsequently, are why these systems are so successful! They can sell you the next 90 days.
To build long term, sustainable success, it’s all about consistency. Not how hard you can CRUSH IT for a short time. Just that you are still doing what you said you would do this time next year.
So rather than a finish line goal, I want you to look at your life and add just one new, HEALTHY habit to your routine. Not two, not three, not five or ten. Just one. And think about that habit in terms of more than 30 days. More than 90 days. Even more than the year. Picture yourself in ten years. If you image your life as you really want it, what habits will you need to have?
- Perhaps an easy workout three times a week
- Journaling a few times a week
- Eating a healthy shake in the morning
- Spending an hour a week re-connecting with people
- Spending an hour a week connecting with new people, building your network
These are all examples of habits that are easy to build into your life, and you don’t have to drive yourself mental trying to cram a year’s worth of activities into your first week of the year!
The winners are the ones who have made real, systemic changes in their lives, and are still growing.[Tweet “Rather than GOALS, set HABITS”]
3) Be happy with today before you start worrying about the future.
Last year was a tough one for me and my family. And I am about to embark on a new entrepreneurial journey. Around September, I was lucky enough to connect with my new spiritual coach, Shigenori Murata. I am the type of person who is always looking for the next new project, opportunity, and goal that I can go and kick the crap out of. I love being busy and being a high achiever. And I also had never even heard of a spiritual coach, but Shigenori is the MAN! Connect with him and tell him I sent ya. You won’t regret it.
Some of the amazing lessons I have learned while working with my coach are:
- Slowing myself down for longer term success is actually much FASTER!
- When I am interacting with others, asking myself if it’s from MY EGO, or from a place of adding value to them
- Seeking to be unconditionally kind and forgiving to others, even if they have wronged me
- Being more present with every movement I make and interaction I have
- Using my vulnerability as a strength
But the one lesson I want to share with you today is “How can I be completely happy with TODAY, without worrying about goals?”
That one was tough for me. But it makes sense. If we are always concerned about the future, and goals, and targets, when will we actually be happy? We constantly move the goalposts, so we get caught in a never ending cycle of “not good enough yet.”
So whether it is in your business, your career, or life, ask yourself, “How can I be totally happy with where I am NOW, before I think about the next steps.”
So as the year draws to a close, and before you start worrying about all the changes you need to make, follow the steps above in reverse order:
- Try to be at peace with who you are TODAY, before you do anything else. Seek within you all of the greatness that you have created already, and pride yourself on everything you have done up until now. You can’t change anything that has already happened, and don’t let all that work be for nothing. Good job so far!
- Think about long term habits, rather than setting goals. What habits would you like in your life in ten twenty years from now? Start slowly adding them into your days, one at a time. And be patient.
- Start your next year’s December planning now. Look at who you want to be next year in your; finances, health, relationships, and spirituality. Start planning for that now, spread it out over the year, and then take things slow so that this time next year you are further ahead. Not frustrated and setting resolutions again.