New Year’s resolutions are a waste of time. After celebrating the holidays, you go back to busy normal routines. Resolutions such as exercise more and lose weight go out-of-sight and out-of-mind when pressing schedules get in the way.
Don’t feel too badly about dropping the resolutions idea. According to US News, 80 percent of resolutions fail by mid-February anyway. Life gets in the way, we get stressed, and we go back to old habits that keep us in our comfort zone.
Getting back into the day-to-day routine after the holidays brings us back to reality. Going to the gym just gets in the way of what needs to be done. Few of us realize how daily urgencies affect our choices. Yes, the real emergencies do need attention. You can get too busy to stick to any resolutions. Whatever is in the refrigerator gets eaten. Exercise must wait until tomorrow. There are just too many other things you “must” do. However, lack of focus, lack of planning, or busyness are not emergencies.
For most people, January is a good time to focus their energies, to stop being busy, to get organized, and to take control. So, what to do instead of New Year’s resolutions?
Focus your attention on what is important in your life. Whether it is getting to the gym, or spending more time with loved ones, set some goals. Think about your values and priorities and make plans to achieve the life that represents those priorities.
For example, if you want to exercise “more,” what exactly does that mean for you? How will you fit that exercise into your life? If you say “I will go to the gym” does that represent something that you can do 2 times a week or 3 times a week? Will you hate going to the gym? What else would count as exercise? Would you prefer hiking with family or learning how to dance with friends? The point is to clarify the goal and make sure it is something you will achieve. It certainly helps to enjoy the process along the way.
The effect of written goals has been supported by research. Make sure you write down the goal (exercise 3 times per week) and put your action steps on your calendar (go to the gym Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 a.m. and dance Wednesdays at 7 p.m.). Setting small steps and syncing them with the calendar will help you stay on track. Set appointments with yourself. For example: on Jan. 8 “register for dance class,” goes on your calendar. Then Wednesdays, Jan. 16, 23, and 30 at 7 p.m. are marked as “attend dance class.” Perhaps you need to set a reminder for an hour early to have time to change and drive to the class.
If you can stay on target with health and fun goals, imagine what you can do when you bring this process to your career or business. If you need a resource for keeping track of written goals, check out the FOCUS Planning Journal. The journal is designed to bring goal-setting to another level by keeping your business and personal goals in one place. The FOCUS Planning Journal teaches you to establish the habit of setting goals in writing and getting priorities on the calendar for balancing work and life.
Forget New Year’s resolutions and set goals instead to gain control over your time to achieve what is most important to you! Remember, those who write their goals accomplish significantly more than those who do not write their goals.