I sat with a group of folks on Sunday, December 31, 2023, discussing their New Year’s Resolutions.
As I ponder that conversation, my biggest question is why people do this. How did this tradition get started? What is so appealing about it that it continues, even though most people say I’ll do it a few weeks and then they return to normal?
My curiosity kicked in.
For the inquiring mind, New Year’s resolutions started with the Ancient Babylonians. And about 80% of people abandon their NYR by the end of February at the latest.
I observed that the items on people’s lists aligned with better health (spiritual, emotional, physical, mental, relational, and financial), breaking old, now useless habits and motivation, increased satisfaction with life and work, and money. All excellent goals!
The complexities of New Year’s resolutions highlight humans’ desire for growth. So, setting resolutions initiated by the Babylonians seduces people seeking growth. The challenge is sustaining the new behaviors once the novelty wears off and the emotional high dissipates.
Rather than a plan based on enthusiasm and ancient tradition, consider a transformative approach that may yield the achievement of said goals.
What is an alternative?
Suppose you could address all of these resolutions one by one so that, at some point, you couldn’t even think of a New Year’s resolution. If that thought intrigues you, please read on. If that thought does not intrigue you, I recommend that you stop reading and do something about which you are passionate. Ultimately, we only do things we are fully committed to doing. It’s human nature.
The potential alternative rests on a foundation of answering a few simple questions.
- Who is the individual that will make this happen?
- What is it I want to accomplish?
- Why do I want to accomplish it?
- How much do I care? Am I willing to invest the energy necessary to succeed?
- How do I get from where I am today to where I want to be?
- Do I need help getting started?
To embark on an adventure towards a forever fulfilling life, consider a carefully crafted plan that extends beyond the annual tradition. The foundation rests on self-leadership and effective communication with self and others.
Several essential elements would be:
- Recognizing that you are the driving force behind motivation, persistence, and, therefore, lasting change
- Recognizing the dependencies among your goals, creating ordered and measurable signposts of success
- Developing purposeful intent to sustain motivation, creating satisfaction with your goals
- Determining your level of investment to create appropriate signposts along the way to keep you on track
- Determining where you are and what success looks like, creating small steps to climb that mountain.
- Acknowledging that you need assistance is strength. Start strong. Enlist that help from day one to set yourself up for success, whether this is a friend, executive coach, or a buddy. They can help you to avoid stubbing your toe so you don’t fall.
Think about this as a way of being versus this year’s resolutions. Before you know it, there won’t be a desire for New Year’s resolutions because you have created your forever-fulfilling life.
The choice is yours.
I wish you the best. Please let me know how you are doing.