Why New Years Resolutions Are Pointless and What You Should Do Instead

It has been several weeks since I have written.  My time and energy to write are minimal at best.  I came home and gave so much time and energy to my family, friends, and work trying to make up for being gone all summer.

But by giving so much to others, I forgot the importance of self-love.  My stress levels are through the roof and my weight is creeping up. Both are signs that Emily is not being cared for like she needs.

With these last 4 months so extremely difficult, I thought 2018 was a horrible year. When New Years hit, I was happy to wave goodbye and watch 2018 disappear into my rear view window. I chose, however, to take an hour to reflect on what did go well in 2018.

Surprisingly, once I looked for the good, I saw many shining stars. I recalled that at the beginning of 2018, I decided to forgo resolutions and instead set focuses for myself.  Lo and behold, all of my year’s accomplishments hit the mark and those focuses proved far more valuable than resolutions.  

Goal setting is important in life when done effectively.  Measurable goals that are achievable can be life-changing.  And breaking big goals into smaller bite-sized pieces is a proven way to tackle big goals.   

The problem isn’t with goals; it is with resolutions because they are unattainable unforgiving goals.  We promise to never drink again.  We promise that chocolate will never pass our lips. We promise to be patient with our children always. 

Resolutions forget we are human.  This is their ultimate flaw.

By setting focuses instead of resolutions, we establish room for error while giving our energy to the positive changes we want to see happen.   From there, we can set specific goals that are smaller and good milestones to help us as we seek to improve those focuses.  Further, by setting focuses, we can establish early in the year our priorities.  When other activities or priorities come our way, we have a foundation settle on and use to help determine if those new priorities are worthy of our time and energy.  

Steps for Setting Focuses

Step 1.   Build a Foundation of Successes – Begin by taking stock of what you accomplished over the last year. Jot down the accomplishments, proud moments, or areas of joy and set aside any negative thoughts that arise. This step is important because it establishes a tone of self-love and gratitude necessary for effective development.

Step 2. Revive the Negative Thoughts – After establishing all the good behind you, resurrect those thoughts that came along of areas you wish you did better or that disappointed you. At this point, because you established a foundation of successes, you can examine the negative thoughts with an analytical mind rather than using them as a whip for self-deprecation.

Step 3. Examine Reality and Prune the Excess – Once resurrected, the list must be sorted and culled. How often is it possible to address every area we wish we could improve upon? Examining the areas you wish to improve through the lens of true desire is critical for future success.

Step 4. Categorize What is Remaining – Of the items that remain, put them into general categories – for example, Running and Fitness or Marriage or Work Related.

Step 5. Spell out the General Categories – Write a sentence or two about that general category and how you want to improve it. This is now your focus for the year.

Example for Setting Focuses

Step 1. Last year was great because I ran several ultras, accomplished some major projects at work, and my marriage and family are thriving.

Step 2. I wish I did a better job with cross training and had done yoga every week. I also wish I would have blogged more often and written every day.

Step. 3. Given the amount of time I have and the amount of running I love to do, I don’t want to give up anything to make time for yoga so that will be culled.

Step 4. The areas I want to improve can be categorized into Running/Fitness, Family/Marriage, and Writing

Step 5. For Writing in 2019, I want to develop a consistent writing habit to help move me closer to writing a book and further developing my blog.

As you work through your own focuses, you will see that developing focuses versus resolutions creates a positive foundation for better success throughout the year. Rather than establishing unrealistic, all-or-nothing resolutions that are destined to fail the moment real life hits, focuses will give you the ability to remember what is important throughout the year.

Share below what some of your focuses are the for year. Putting them out there gives them life and value and keeps you accountable.

The journey continues…….

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