Sorry, But New Year’s Resolutions Are A Waste Of Time
It’s January and that can mean only one thing. It’s new year’s resolution time again, and because it’s not only a new year but a new decade as well, the enthusiasm is off the charts. Except, it doesn’t seem to really matter what year, decade or century it is (or any other milestone you can think of for that matter). Statistically, the vast majority of new year’s resolutions get broken within a month of making them. A month! Hardly surprising perhaps; it’s easy to make a resolution, so it’s bound to be easy to break them too.
You’d think that by now, we’d have all wised up to the fine art of setting goals and sticking to them, but year on year we put ourselves through this ritual of setting half-arsed, badly planned out resolutions, fueled by magazines, media types, self-help gurus and bloggers (yes, even I’ve been guilty of it until I, ahem, finally wised up).
The problem isn’t setting the goals, that’s easy. We all want to change, achieve or do something different, and you can probably think of a habit right now you’d like to work on. The real issue is rationally planning through how you’re actually going to do any of it, during a period of the year when you’re buzzing about the prospect of a new start, a new beginning.
Here’s a shock for you. There is nothing “new” about a new year other than the fact a number goes up (again) and you can look forward to another round of birthdays. There may well be something about the human psyche that loves a new start, but in reality it’s the same old you just carried over to the next year.
All that expectation and enthusiasm is badly misplaced. If only I could harness the energy I feel at the start of a new year and spread it out evenly over the entire twelve months I’d be… well, amongst many things, I’d be a very happy and fulfilled person. Instead, we seem to splurge it all away before January is even over, because we stumble at the first hurdle.
The way we perceive the new year, and thusly the way it makes us feel, is very much like an overinflated balloon (probably blown up by a very drunk person at 11.59PM on New Year’s Eve) that surprises us when it pops, no matter how many times it happens. We’re shocked and disheartened when we get back to the daily grind a few days later and nothing has changed. All it takes is one cigarette when you decided to quit, or getting tempted by that juicy bun with the strawberry on top when you declared you was finally going to lose weight, and that enthusiasm balloon goes bang.
Oh well, there is always next year… and the year after.
If you want to be disciplined about it, the new year can be a great time to re-evaluate yourself and make realistic, achievable goals backed up by concrete, clearly defined steps to help you achieve them, if only because there tends to be a lot of holiday time to take advantage of. It’s just no good setting flaky, fairytale goals because you happening to be buzzing about some fresh start. That high will very quickly be followed by a low. And let’s face it, you don’t get this wound up over each new day or new week do you?
If you want to take goal setting seriously for the new year, check out my follow-up post where I go into detail on how you can finally break the cycle of broken new year’s resolutions.