This post, today, is for anyone. Here’s a shared experience amongst all of us: failed New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us are recycling resolutions that were initially set 5 years ago and have yet to be met. What’s up with that? It’s very true that life gets in the way and things don’t necessarily pan out the way that we’d initially hoped. Or planned. Regardless, in the spirit of “New Year, New Me” (a phrase that, like many of our resolutions, has been recycled far too much), 2018 will be the year of achieved resolutions.
According to dictionary.com (easily the most reputable and non-biased website on the internet), a resolution is defined as the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.
Hold on to that definition for a moment, we’ll be returning to it shortly.
Every year, December begins and, fed up with our failures and disappointments of the last year, we start making lists of things we aim to achieve in the New Year. Those lists become goals and those goals become dreams- fun little daydreams that occupy our mind as January approaches. You start picturing yourself in that really hot bikini. You start imagining ways that you’ll celebrate that promotion you’re going to get. You envision your entryway when you finally finish (first, however, you actually have to start) all of the projects you’ve pinned on Pinterest.
Dictionary.com defines a reverie as a state of dreamy meditation or fanciful musing; a daydream.
One would say that, according to their very definitions, a resolution and a reverie are almost anonymous. A resolution is concrete; definitive. It’s a conscious decision that is made, planned for, and executed. A reverie, however, is abstract. It exists only in our minds. It’s fantastical. It’s nothing but a thought-a good thought, but a thought nonetheless. No action is required.
Why is it that two completely different things, a resolution and a reverie, somehow become the same thing by the end of the year? We dream up the goal, we implement the goal, but we fail to meet the goal. (An accurate summary of the last five years of my life.)
So what do we do?
I once read somewhere that the best way to meet your New Year’s Resolution is to choose one that is easily attainable.
Okay, well yeah, I obviously can’t go to space this year. (If you work for NASA, however, going to space is a valid resolution.) Here’s the flaw in this theory, though. So many of us have convinced ourselves that our goals are impossible. For some of us, the thought of losing weight is great and it’s something we really want to do, but after a month or so of healthier eating and committing to the gym with very little results, it seems like an impossibility that we’ll ever get back in that hot bikini. Or you’ve convinced yourself that the job you really want is most likely going to your coworker who has been with the company longer. Or the big move you’ve been dying to commit to is too far out of your comfort zone and you can’t seem to push yourself past that limit.
I get it. I’m there, too. In all resolutions, for the New Year or the new month or the new day, there is a certain level of impossibility that needs to be taken into account. If it’s not financially feasible, you can not do it. If it’s not something you have access to, you can not have it. I can never go to space. I can not buy a private jet this month. I can not take a six month cruise around the world. Those are not feasible for me, and thus they’re completely unreasonable. However, there are some things that are completely possible, you just have to be willing to be a little uncomfortable. You have to be a little more open. When facing your resolution-that decision to take action-you HAVE to take a step back and ask, “Are there valid reasons that bar me from achieving this? Or am I inhibiting myself?”
Secondly, our resolutions need to be more tangible and less abstract. They need to be specific. You could simply say “lose weight” and recycle that goal next year or you could say “lose 50 pounds” and begin working towards that daily. Try “being more patient” or “going to more of their games” rather than “being a better parent”. Consider “be a better listener and less reactionary when communicating” rather than “bettering my relationship”. It’s hard to achieve anything if it’s vague. Zero in on what EXACTLY it is that you want and you’ll be able to develop the plan needed to accomplish it.
Lastly, performance is a prerequisite. Stop dreaming about it, stop saying “wouldn’t it be great if…” and start working towards it! The best things in life don’t just happen to you, you have to work for them. Your resolution requires a plan as well as the execution of that plan. No one can do it for you. You need to build the gym time into your schedule. You need to step up your game at work. You need to make the time for your spouse/SO. If you aren’t consistently working towards your goals, I can guarantee that you won’t see the results you desired and that you’ll be recycling your resolution for 2019.
So break the cycle of failure and disappointment in your resolutions. Stop daydreaming about it and MAKE IT HAPPEN. Push yourself to reach new levels so that in 2019, you can start the year saying that you’ve accomplished all that you wanted to in 2018 and for the first time in a long time, you can find a brand new aspiration or objective to achieve.