It’s that time again. We all woke up bleary-eyed this morning from the late night last night. (Did anyone ever find Mariah’s tea?) And then we declared we wanted to make ourselves better by making a new year’s resolution. So in that spirit I’ll share my new year’s resolution.
My new year’s resolution is…that I’m not making a new year’s resolution.
Every year around this time, stores fill their sale ads and displays with exercise equipment and organizing supplies. (Americans frequently chose weight loss or fitness and getting organized as two of the most popular resolutions, according to Nielsen.) But every year stores discount that same stuff, because we make the same resolutions year after year. How is that possible? Because in January the gyms bustle with people getting on the fitness bandwagon with their resolution. And then by March the gyms are back to normal.
Resolutions, to put it bluntly, just don’t work.
Why do we give some sort of magical power to the changing of the year on the calendar to change our lives? Believe it or not, we’ve been doing it since ancient times, when people made promises to the gods at the dawn of the new year. After two millennia, you’d think we’d have figured out how to stick to a resolution by now. But it seems not. A study in 2007 by Professor Richard Wiseman of the University of Hertfordshire showed that nearly 90% of us will crash and burn at our resolutions.
We only need resolutions to do hard things, because we did the easy stuff already! Those hard changes require motivation, commitment, and willpower. A calendar can’t provide that.
So what can bring success at making change in your life? Personally, for me successful change comes when I’m motivated by where I’m at in my life, not a date on the calendar. Organization problems get solved when I get fed up enough with the problems they cause. A change in our financial habits was driven by a personal financial crisis. Every day can be the right day to start change with the right motivation. Every day can be the wrong day if you aren’t in the right place yet for it.
So pick your day carefully. If that’s today, great. If you decide to try and fail, know the odds are stacked against you and you’re in good company.
And if you decide to try and actually succeed…please share with the rest of us the secret to success that we’ve been seeking for millennia!