New Years Resolutions
The tradition of setting New Years Resolutions dates back thousands of years. It started more than 4,000 years ago with the ancient Babylonians celebrating the New Year not in January, but in March, when the spring harvest came. Centuries later, the ancient Romans practiced similar traditions to celebrate their new year, which also originally started in March.
It wasn’t until around 300 B.C. that the traditions switched to Jan. 1. There really isn’t a direct correlation to the traditions practiced by the Romans and what is now known as the modern New Year’s resolution. Even though New Year’s resolutions have become somewhat of a tradition, are they starting to become less popular?
A CBS News poll in 2013 found that 68% of American’s don’t make New Year’s resolutions. In 2011, that number was 58% and only about 50% of those that make a resolution follow through with it. One source, The Journal of Clinical Psychology from the University of Scranton, states that only 8% of people are successful in achieving their resolution.
According to the USA.gov website, the most popular resolutions are:
· Lose weight
· Volunteer to help others
· Quit smoking
· Get a better education
· Get a better job
· Save money
· Get fit
· Eat healthy food
· Manage stress
· Manage debt
· Take a trip
· Reduce, reuse, and recycle
· Drink less alcohol
Outcomes vs. Behaviors
Each item included on the list above all have 1 thing in common: they are all outcomes.
Here is the problem with outcomes…you can’t control them! The world we live in is pretty uncontrollable. Life happens. Let’s take the most popular New Year’s resolution for example, lose weight. You can’t make your body lose 10 lbs. on command. It just isn’t that easy.
You can’t control outcomes but what you can control is the behaviors that lead to the outcome you want. Instead of setting the goal of losing 10 lbs., set a behavior goal of committing to 3 strength training workouts per week or eating protein at each meal.
This year, set behavior resolutions, goals, intentions, (or whatever other word you choose to use) that will move you closer to the outcomes you desire.
Behavior goals are things you can do consistently and regularly.
Behavior goals are small, manageable tasks that are within your control.
Behavior goals are often things that you can do right now, today, or in the near future. They spur action.
It is important when setting behavior goals to be realistic with what you can do. To start, make it too easy, underestimate your capacity to change. Ask yourself, “On a scale of 1-10, how confident am I that I can achieve this goal?” If the answer is not a 9 or a 10, you need to pick a new behavior goal or modify the existing one.
Complete This Exercise
Take out a piece of paper and write down one outcome you want for 2017.
Below that, choose 1 action that you will commit to this MONTH that will move you closer to that outcome.
Below that, choose 1 action that you will commit to this WEEK that will move you closer to that outcome.
Below that, choose 1 action that you will commit to TODAY that will move you closer to that outcome.
Here’s to a SUCCESSFUL 2017
A new year can signify a new beginning and a chance to start over with a clean slate. But the truth is you don’t need the change of a calendar year to set goals and take action. Check in with yourself or an accountability partner daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly. Reviewing, reflecting, and re-evaluating your behavior goals is a great way to stay focused.
When you re-frame your goals from outcomes to behaviors YOU become in control. Make a clear decision on what you want for yourself, and begin to cultivate the behaviors that will get you there.
Love and respect yourself enough to know that you are worthy of whatever it is that you want to accomplish.