Don’t Just Set a Resolution. Plan For Being Human
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
I love the promise of a New Year’s resolution, but let’s face facts: Most people abandon theirs by Jan. 19. That’s not even three weeks of trying to change! After years of personal goal setting and coaching clients through overcoming obstacles, I’ve found that most resolutions fail for a very simple reason.
We just don’t plan for being human.
We have a fantasy that, through sheer force of willpower, we’ll be able to tackle our resolutions no matter what life throws at us. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case. When we need to accomplish something difficult, many of us shoot for perfection rather than progress — and that’s a surefire way to sabotage ourselves.
This year, don’t just set a resolution. Make a sensible to plan to achieve progress you can build on. By this time next year, you’ll be amazed at what you’ve managed to accomplish.
Go for standards rather than goals.
A goal is something you reach and then try to top. For example, let’s say I want to bill $3,000 worth of business each week. Once I reach that goal, I immediately set the number higher. A standard is a habit that becomes part of who you are. My standards include sending one thank-you card a day and writing down three things I’m grateful for.
Goals are great for helping us feel like we’re improving, but it’s better to set standards that will serve you well over time (and now that we’re home more and have fewer distractions, it’s a great time to lock new standards in).
Focus on the short term.
The world is moving too quickly to plan very far ahead. Who knows what technology and our day-to-day lives might be like in five years? Instead of making a long-term plan, set your sights on the next 30, 60, and 90 days and get clear on what you’d like to achieve. How would you like to feel at the end of the month? What changes would you like to see at the end of the season?
There will be good days and bad days as you improve yourself — even good weeks and bad weeks. You’ll handle hurdles more easily if you set a hiccup-proof strategy to reach your desired outcome.
Let’s say you want to lose 20 pounds. Most people go on drastic diets with high failure rates, and those who succeed often gain the weight back within a year. What would happen if, instead of focusing on the scale, you chose to enjoy eating healthfully? What kind of pleasure would you get from selecting new recipes out of a plant-based cookbook, for example, or having freshly pressed juices delivered to your door? You might not get the payoff of losing a lot of weight in a short period of time, but you’ll build sustainable strategies that will lead to gradual (and lasting) change.
Are you making a resolution for 2021? What are they? I’d love to hear about the changes you’re planning for yourself.