Let’s get one thing straight from the start. Resolutions do not work. According to my colleague John Blumberg, in his Front Porch ezine, only 14% of people over 50 actually achieve their New Year's resolution each year. A 2014 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology at the University of Scranton revealed this dismal statistic. The same study noted that resolutions made by those in their twenties were achieved almost 40% of the time. While still low, it was much higher than their older counterparts.
Why is that? I think we are worn out. The end of the year carries work-related deadlines, family obligations, aging parents, and thwarted travel.
Very few folks in their 20s host the Holiday gatherings, cook the meals, buy the gifts, hold hands with crotchety relatives, and clean up when everything is over. The proverbial engine is running on empty and to attempt a resolution worthy of the Indianapolis 500 is foolhardy.
Tip #1. Create intentions for the New Year.
Resolutions come with deadlines, measurable outcomes, and pass/fail criteria. Intentions on the other hand allow for flexibility and unforeseen opportunities. There is space for synchronicity or as one colleague put it, “something better than I could have imagined.” You may want to purchase my book, Your Resiliency GPS: A Guide for Growing Through Life & Work as a resource to guide you through the New Year.
Tip #2. Begin with the end in mind.
You’d never begin a journey without having an idea as to the destination or at least what you wanted for your travel experience. Here are some questions to consider: What do you want to be known for? What do you want to be known as? What relationships do you want nurtured and protected?
Tip #3: Review the past year and make note of what were your finest moments.
Often, we forget the stretches of the past year, the places where we stepped up to the plate, the way we handled success as well as disappointment. We are a work in progress and what build our resilient spirit is the realization of what we have done. Like leaves town in the wind, we easily forget our strength. our bravery, and notice - instead our weakness. By-the-way—if you can’t think of a nothing, ask those around you.
Consider the words of poet Mary Oliver "Let me keep my mind on what matters, which is my work, which is mostly standing still and learning to be astonished.” Here’s to having an astonishing New Year!