For everyone who hasn’t been reading the news, apparently our calendar’s have rolled over of 2011. For most of us, means we stayed up late on December 31 and we will spend a large part of the next few weeks groaning when we have to change 2010 on forms to 2011. The other popular symptom of the New Year is the New Year’s resolution. By my own opinion (and since you’re reading my blog, you’re going to get it) is the calendar rolling over is a completely arbitrary event that is part of a calendar designed hundreds of years ago, and has no significant meaning outside the minds of the people who follow it. It can also create issues with people who believe in the mysticism of it and set resolutions that are high out of reach. This leads to many not following their resolutions past January. I believe that when taking something on, you should work hard to set yourself up for success. The most frequent new years resolution is weight loss. An example might be to “lose 20 pounds by February”. Dissecting this goal though, there is a lot wrong with it.
The first mistake this goal made was thinking about what happened in the past. If it took you 2 months to lose 10 pounds, chances are by setting this goal you’re already setting yourself up for failure.
Goals are based on results instead of actions
If the resolutionary (this should TOTALLY be a word) starts going to the gym, that in itself a success; you started doing something that you weren’t doing before. However, it will be easy to be disheartened when the change doesn’t achieve the weight loss goal. Make sure that the goal you set for yourself is based on your actions, not the results. This leads right into …
The first thing I would ask or someone who had this goal is “how are you going to do it?” The wrong answer would be “start going to the gym more.” Immediately, you’ve lost the quantifiable part of your goal. If they answered “by going to the gym 3 times a week for a half hour run”, I would respond “then that should be your goal”.
As much as New Years might give someone the motivation to go for something, I sometimes worry if gives people unnatural expectations of achieving it. In the end, the achievement of your goals is up to you. Pope Gregory XIII, the creator of our calendar chose the date, and he won’t be helping you with the goals (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregorian_Calendar) so if you fall short, don’t be discouraged. Renewal comes by our own choice, so if you fall short, don’t be afraid to try again on February 1.