Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again.

Modern culture insists that every human being promise what they will do during the coming year. If you don’t make these “resolutions,” your life will crumble. You will slowly melt into a state of perfect nothingness and disappear into the ether. Well, maybe it’s not that harsh, but everyone expects everyone to make the resolutions. Otherwise, there is something wrong with you.

An Altermate Plan

People that know me know I will do anything to NOT do what I’m “supposed” to do. So I do annual goal-setting differently. My birthday is on February 22. (I like to say that George Washington was born on my birthday. Ha, ha.) That is the 53rd day of the year. That is when I set my goals.

There are definite advantages to this. I have no actual research here, but gut feelings. I suspect four out of every five “resolutions” are completely abandoned by the 53rd day of the year. So the traffic on the highway of goals is a lot lighter by the time I get rolling. If I set a fitness goal, the gym will be emptier. People who made fitness resolutions often drop out by then.

I do believe in setting goals, short-term, medium-term and long-term. I’ll set goals for a month, a year, and 5-plus years. This year, being the first of a new decade, will inspire greater goals, both in number and audacity. I have no problem with the enthusiasm of a new year, using the energy gained by getting a little rest during the holiday season. 

What Is The Motivation?

On the other hand, New Year’s resolutions are very cliché, since everyone makes them for at least the reason that everyone else expects them to make them. That, to me, is why so many resolutions fall by the wayside so quickly – too many resolutions are made because people sense an expectation of what should be happening. People who are overweight feel like everyone expects them to change their ways, so they make resolutions to lose weight and/or exercise more. Some people feel that others expect them to be doing better in their career than what is happening, so they make resolutions to get a higher-paying job or getting a degree.

But if you make a resolution because you perceive others expect it from you, or because someone close to you keeps talking about it, there is almost no chance the goal will be reached. The only way you will achieve something is if it is something you deeply desire to achieve. I may love my wife more than anyone in the world, but if I set a goal that she wants me to achieve, or that I perceive she wants me to achieve, I’m not going to reach it. It has to be something that I can’t do without. I’ve had weight loss on my goal list almost every year of my adult life, but the only times I have actually achieved any weight loss are years when I just couldn’t live with the idea of me staying where I am or gaining any weight.

So if you are going to make New Year’s resolutions, have at it. But make sure the resolutions are things that you can’t possibly imagine going another year without them being achieved.

And please feel free to check in with me in a little over 7 weeks. I’ll be happy to share my 2020 goals.