This is it—the week by which 80% of NY’s Resolutions already failed. No worries for the 64% who make the same resolutionsover and over again every year. Same 5 lbs., same upping to 5 days/week of exercise… Maybe later. Maybe next year. Maybe not at all. Who are we kidding? And what is the point?
What’s the Point?
What is the point of making resolutions if the majority of us don’t keep them? Consider these 3 Why’s:
1. The Inner Critic. From my new book “Getting to G.R.E.A.T.: 5-Step Strategy for Work and Life”:
“The inner critic (we’ll call it TIC) is a piece of your mind that tells you that no matter how well you do, it is not good enough….TIC sees danger, failure, and potential for humiliation everywhere. So it also protects you from making a complete fool, or failure, out of yourself.”
Better safe than sorry? That’s one possible reason we don’t achieve the goals we set. There are others.
2. Promises to the Gods. Humans have been making resolutions, or promises to the gods, at least as far back as 4000 years ago in ancient Babylonia. The promises then were about being better people to others, so the pagan gods would not punish us by wrecking our crops.
The difference now is that the promises are more likely to ourselves, for ourselves, about ourselves, and we can easily let ourselves off the hook in a way that earlier humans were not convinced the gods would. And just in case the gods are still looking, at least we made the promise, didn’t we? Come on, at least we tried.
3. Fear of the Unknown. What exactly would life be like if, instead of staying stuck in the same place with the same goals year after year—we actually got there. Got where? Truth is we don’t know with any certainty what ‘there’ will be like because we are not there yet. And that right there is enough to keep us from moving beyond our safety zone, no matter how blah.
Looks to me that the 80% who fail are making a decision to choose safety zoning over whatever else they think they may want. That’s fine if that’s fine for you Ewww.
So What Can We Do?
1. Nothing. That’s one very reasonable option. Don’t make any more new year resolutions. Live every day of the year in the best way you know how. And quit disappointing yourself and everyone else by saying you are going to do things you’re not. Can you feel the freedom? Can you feel the peace? Done.
For those who really to want to up-level in some area of your life…
2. Shoot from Who You Are. Do a reality check. What’s your Why? Won’t work if it is only something someone else thinks you should do, not even if it is something you think you should do. Has to be something that keeps bubbling up and coming back as something you really, really want to make happen yourself. Really, Really.
3. The Goldilocks Principle. Action steps toward any goal need to be big enough to excite the brain’s motivational center, but not so big that they overwhelm and shut us down. Not too big, not too little, but just right.
Practice, practice, practice…see what happens and let us know.