New Year’s Resolutions? Why Bother!
Studies show that about half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions and 6 months later about half of them are still sticking to their goals. Long term success is achieved by 10 – 20% of of people, depending on which study you look at. If our chances of success are so low, why should we even bother?
Whether it’s New Year’s Resolutions or any goal we set, the act of making goals gives us direction and focus, which makes us feel more in control, even if we don’t fully achieve our goal. When we feel in control, we feel happier. As Brian Tracy said, “Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.”
Without goals, we can have a very busy life doing a lot of things we think we should do; but are they the things we want to do and is it the life we want to live? There’s so much to do and experience in this life, we need a plan so we can achieve and experience those things that are important to us. When you take the time to choose the right goals, you are intentionally designing your life. Our goals guide our choices and as Wayne Dyer pointed out, “Our lives are a sum total of the choices we have made.”
One of the problems is that we commonly choose our New Year’s Resolutions based on “shoulds.” We feel we “should” lose weight or eat healthier or go back to school or spend less or exercise more. This pressure comes from everywhere; our friends, family, commercials, Facebook, our inner critic, etc. Our goal feels like a heavy obligation instead of something we get excited about. What if instead, we chose goals that helped us create the life we wanted by clarifying the desires floating in our minds? These types of goals would ensure that we are channeling our time, energy and efforts into things that really matter to us.
We have a set amount of time to pursue the experiences we want in this life, and then, before you know it, we’ve run out of time. If you want to get the most out of your precious moments of life, make your goals, then let go of the outcome and enjoy the ride.
For more ideas to help you achieve your goals, check out this free series on willpower.
Tina Hallis, Ph.D., is founder and owner of The Positive Edge, a company dedicated to helping individuals and organizations increase their positivity to improve the quality of people’s work lives and the quality of company cultures.