Another year. It’s the time when many people make a New Year’s resolution to improve their health or wellbeing. But do New Year’s resolutions work?
I know. I’m lazy. But I made myself a New Year’s resolution that I would write myself something really special. Which means I have ’til December, right? – Catherine O’Hara
A New Year’s Resolution
The majority of people who set out to change are unlikely to get through the next couple of weeks. Why is this?
Quite simply New Year’s resolutions rarely work because there is no intention to see them through. It is wishful thinking. As we learned in Just imagine… wishing life was different doesn’t make a difference.
Let me illustrate with two real-life examples.
1 I admit I am a little overweight. It’s not that I eat or drink too much. Rather I don’t exercise as often as I would like. So I resolved to do something about it. In November.
I started swimming regularly. With the run-up to Christmas I haven’t managed to go every week but my intention is to continue. I shape the habit.
And my point is this: the catalyst for change is not the New Year. Rather it is the recognition to change. If I had thought about being fitter in November and chose to do nothing until the New Year my intent was to defer. To do nothing.
Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other. – Abraham Lincoln
2 Last year I was very busy. It was hectic. Toward the end of the year I realised I needed to do something about it. On 31st December I resolved to try Getting Things Done using Nozbe*. So I guess I do have a New Year’s resolution after all!
However, my intent is to create a new future for myself. One where I manage my commitments more effectively. A future where I’m getting things done without being harried.
The difference between a New’s Years resolution and my re-solution is this:
- It assumes what I’ve been doing so far is okay. It was part of the solution.
- My re-solution is to find a better solution. An alternative solution.
- I am using my past experiences to help make a better future.
Where there is agreement between old and new success is more likely. Happy New Year!
Do you have a New Year’s resolution? Are you likely to succeed?
Creative Commons Image Krissy Mayhew.