New Year, New Me: Why Resolutions Should be Made Consistently and Not Only Once a Year
We’re well into the first few months of 2018… how’s that New Year’s resolution going? Think back to the first day of the New Year, when making your resolution was one of the most prominent thoughts on your mind. For the next three weeks you worked your hardest to achieve your set goal, but what happens now that it’s March, and the excitement of making the resolution has worn off? How do you make that resolution a habit?
Studies show that only eight-percent of the population sticks to their New Year’s Resolutions. It’s fleeting, a burst of excitement aroused from the thought of new beginnings. Not to mention, the idea of a New Year’s Resolution is plastered everywhere. “New Year, New Me” blog headlines, #NewYearsResolution all over Instagram, plus lists of “The Best” resolutions, you can’t help but follow the trend. So, why does such a small percentage of the population stick to their resolutions? It’s simple, really - goals should be made year-round, and not because of a popular trend, but because of your own internal drive. If you only stick to setting a goal once per year, then you really aren’t committing to a true change.
Intentions > Goals
In Buddhist practice, there are many teachings based around setting your intentions. The belief is, if you think about what you want and direct all of your energy towards that one thing, then it will become your reality. Setting intentions is very similar to setting goals or making resolutions. The only difference is the amount of importance and stability an intention holds. In other words it’s “I want to” vs.“I am going to.” The idea of change is constructed on your terms, not because “everyone else was doing it.”
Your thought process going into a job interview, starting a new school, or even walking into the gym, can impact so much. Negative mindsets lead to negative outcomes, positive mindsets lead to positive outcomes. With that being said, it is so important to examine your thought process and state of your feelings when you take on a new goal. Ask yourself why you are taking on this goal. Is it truly for yourself, and are you willing to throw down and put the work in? Along with that, there seems to be an ever growing pressure that something has to change when the New Year comes around.
Your New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. It’s the week before 2018 and you decide to go all in: you buy new workout clothes, sign up for a gym membership, and begin research into the best and most effective diets. Now, it’s a few months into your resolution and you’re not seeing very much progress. Let’s face it, you expected the instant results that commercials often advertise, and you become very disappointed and frustrated. Life starts to get in the way, school or work starts up again, and your workload begins to increase. You didn’t factor in a few things:
- Results are never instant.
- There is a difference between a long term goal and a short term goal.
- You weren’t fully committed.
All goals take work. Give yourself the credit you deserve for all your hard work, and understand that it’s a process.
So how do you make the resolution stick this year? Start here: pick up a notebook and write down your most important, sought-after goal right now. Now, come up with five to six short term goals that will boost you to success. You now have the foundation to your accomplishment. The next step is to set a new intention every morning when you wake up or every night before you go to sleep. Really examine yourself and figure out exactly what parts of your lifestyle and daily habits need to change. Make a list of the exact tactics you will use to make this year’s resolution become a habit that lasts throughout the year, and beyond.
People feel obligated to make a drastic change come the New Year. The need for change every January is too much pressure, and so many of us take on the false expectation for instant results. The most common resolutions have to do with getting fit and losing weight, or making more money. When you take a step back and really look, it becomes clear that those are long term goals. The only way to reach those bigger, more life-changing goals is to set short term goals that lead up to the long term outcome. As the old adage goes, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” There’s no such thing as overnight success or instant results. If you want to achieve your goals, and strive for those New Year’s resolutions, set your intentions, keep your eyes on the prize, and make it happen. It takes time, but you’ve got this.