Here’s the truth. Ugly, but nontheless true. The only people that set New Year’s Resolutions are those that have no intention of keeping them. Yet, for a brief time it makes them feel better. Maybe they can lose that weight. Maybe they could read a few books this year. Maybe they could do a better job at work. Then again….Naa. “You have no idea how much stress I’m under” they say. And then it’s February and it’s back to binge watching the latest Netflix series they’ve heard about and making reservations for the new restaurant that, Jeez, they haven’t been to yet. And so it goes.
New Year’s Resolutions create a false sense that you are making progress when in fact, you’re not. And funny thing, for many people, it’s the same resolutions. Year after year after year. I know because that was me for something like 20 years. Then, I got really good at it. I would google “New Year’s Resolutions” and see what other people were resolving to (never) do. Then I would add it to my evergreen list to remind me of what a serial loser I had become..
I think there is a better way. It’s not about making resolutions once a year and striving to become a better person, lose weight or stop kicking the dog. It’s about gradually moving toward your life purpose and core values. It’s about incrementally becoming the person you’ve alway wanted to be. “Whoa Jessie, now don’t go get all Marianne Williamson on me. I’m just makin’ this little ole list here so I can fool myself into thinkin’ things might change or that, even better, I might change.”
Dana Cavalea, former New York Yankees coach writes that the days of professional athletes are meticulously scripted from beginning to end. When they get up, what they eat, when they start training and exactly what they do and for how long. It’s a science and it’s designed to produce superior athletic performance. Now admittedly, that’s a little intense and for most people, it’s decidedly overkill. However, having a simple system consisting of a few goals designed to get you closer to the person you want to be and keeping track of your progress is a whole lot better than that piece of paper with your “Top 10 Resolutions” under the Moe’s Pizza magnet on the front of your refrigerator.
David Goggins, former Navy Seal, author of Can’t Hurt Me, and now ultra marathoner Badass, has a simple rule. “Do something that sucks every day.” Simple but satisfying. And when you do, add it to a list of accomplishments that you have completed this year. Simple things like walking 10,000 steps, cleaning out the junk drawer, throwing out all the junk food add up over time. Doing just one thing every day that you would rather not do that makes you feel so much better when you’re done.
At the end of the year you’ll have a list of 365 things you did that truly sucked. And for that, you may well be a total sucker but at least you’ll weigh 10 lbs, less, have an organized garage and have read at least one nonfiction book during the year. And because you inched bit by bit closer to becoming the person you want to be, making one good choice at a time instead of setting New Year’s Resolutions, you have become anything but a loser.