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New Year’s Resolutions? Bah! Humbug!

You know setting New Year’s resolutions doesn’t work, right? According to Statistic Brain, only 8 percent of “resolvers” are still at it six months later. Clearly, there’s something that doesn’t work when it comes to setting these kinds of goals. So in today’s post, I’m going to offer up a couple new ways of looking at goal setting.

Perhaps most important is that most goals aren’t actually the goal. WTF? I know, sounds confusing, but what I’m really getting at is that the reason we set goals is because we want to feel something different from what we’re currently feeling. We want to lose weight because we’ll feel more confident. We want to quit smoking because we’ll feel better physically. We want to save money so we can take that exotic vacation that will be stimulating and exciting. Make sense?

Here are a couple questions to consider:

  • How do I want 2016 to be different from past years?

  • What feeling will that give me?

Why does how you want to feel matter? Because sometimes the way we set up the goal ensures that we won’t succeed. For example, I might tell myself, “When I get to my ideal weight, that’s when I will feel confident,” which, in my case, would mean that I have to wait, like, a frikking year before I get to feel confident. Hmmmm…that’s not very motivating. In fact, it’s pretty much a buzz kill.

Instead, I can look at all the things I have already accomplished and allow myself to feel confident. Why wait? Confidence breeds more confidence. If I say, “Look what I’ve already achieved; of course, I can meet this goal,” I’m more likely to take the necessary action to achieve the goal.

This is far more inspiring than taking the all-or-nothing approach: “Oh, well, that’s just one workout and there are 259 to go. What makes you think you’re so hot now?” Ugh. Buzz kill.

So take a look at your goal and what you really want to feel. What have you already done to elicit that feeling? What are the thoughts you have about your goal—and do they need to change to better support it?

My second suggestion is to try doing a vision board. Basically, it is a collection of images and words that are inspiring, make you happy and represent what you want your life to look like. It can be kind of fun to comb through magazines, pulling images that inspire. Some people believe that simply putting the image on your vision board will "make it happen."

I did my first vision board about six months ago and what I learned was a bit different. My vision board served as a reminder of what I wanted do over the summer, and because I looked at it daily, I made almost all of those images happen. I found that my commitment to these activities was greater because I'd spent the time pulling the images together. My vision board served as an inspiration to action, not as a passive, "wait for the universe to deliver it to me."

For 2016 I'm adding images of people surfing. It's never too late to try, right? ;) What images will inspire you in 2016?

Happy New Year!

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