If you’re like me, and many others, the end of the year
brings about thoughts of a fresh new year, starting over or doing better. You curl up with pen and paper and draft the list either mentally or literally of
your New Year Resolutions.
I think resolutions can be a positive self-reflective
exercise about what has worked, what has not, and what we want in the year to
I tend to be a bit pessimistic however, about the success of
these lists to bring about behavioral change, because they are simply too easy
to craft without serious reflection about why we didn’t act upon these “desired
actions or achieve these desired outcomes,” for example, eating healthy or getting
a new job – long before, surely some of these items are repeat offenders on our
Resolution Reboot List.
Perhaps as this year comes to an end, making a list of the
repeat list offenders and thinking deeply about what prevents us from going to the
gym, eating healthy, having meaningful relationships, getting a new job, or
stopping addictive behaviors … is the key to success.
The truth of the matter is, if you don’t know what you are
doing wrong and why you are doing it, then you can’t really change, and hence
my pessimism about resolutions. It
doesn’t matter how many lists you craft, we are setting ourselves up for
failure. We can’t help to ultimately
fall into old dysfunctional patterns.
If you simply ask yourself honestly WHY you have not been successful
at X, things just may change. Ask yourself what benefit do I receive by eating
badly, being out of shape, having bad relationships, or being stuck in the same
old unfulfilling job.
There is a benefit to everything we do, regardless of how
bad we perceive it to be for us. It serves a purpose, even if it is simply to
reaffirm a deep negative belief, such as we will never amount to anything and
so failure is justified.
Try journaling the why. When you get a true honest answer,
try replacing the deep negative belief you have possibly held for years (I will
never amount to anything – might become – I will be successful and am worthy of
success) and then your list might just fly if you believe it and work hard at
achieving it. It is helpful to build a
true war plan of baby steps that are achievable and measurable for these goals to actually get checked off the list. Remember,
Rome wasn’t built in a day. It is about progress not speed.
Happy Holidays and may your New Year be bright.