Just a few minutes ago, I typed in “new year’s resolutions” into Google and clicked on the first result, which was titled, “Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions” (source here).
According to that article, the number one New Year’s resolution is to spend more time with family and friends. That’s followed up by a list of things revolving around improving health and fitness and quitting addictions, but also with things such as serving others and getting more out of life, in general. They’re all fantastic things to want to change. And who wouldn’t want to spend more time with those that matter most, and who wouldn’t want to be healthier, fitter, and enjoy a higher quality of life? My hand is raised, too!
Now, you’d think with so much sheer desire that many of these resolutions would be fulfilled, but we all know that isn’t exactly the case. And I’m going to argue that the massive failure in resolution-seekers is because we have a poor understand of how to change habits that is only made worse through the annual New Year’s Resolution binge that serves as a terrible example.
Every Day Is New Year’s Resolution Day
Not too long ago, I read something by fitness professional, Craig Ballantyne, who is the creator of the popular Turbulence Training Program. He said that “every Monday is New Year’s resolution day.” I like that, and I think there’s some truth to it, but only some.
As I write this, it is Monday afternoon on January 28th, 2013. That, my friends, is a fact. It is also a fact, that for most people, Monday is the beginning of a new week – not all that unlike how January 1st is the beginning of a new year. It’s a fresh start, a new opportunity to seize the day and actively pursue and achieve the goals you’ve established for your life. Yes, it’s true that it isn’t technically a New Year’s resolution, but “Monday resolutions” sounds corny. How about we call them “new life resolutions” because isn’t that what we want, after all, a higher quality of life?
But here’s the thing, even though Monday is like January 1st fifty-two times a year, the whole idea of New Year’s resolutions is a distraction – an illusion. While we’re at it, why don’t we imagine having New Month’s Resolutions, New Week’s Resolutions, and even New Day’s Resolutions? Who’s to say we can’t make a New Life Resolution any day we want? It’s certainly not subject to happening on just the first of the year or the first of the week!
John’s “Coincidental” Reminder That Every Day Is A New Beginning
Maybe a little story will help reinforce this point. I posted this short story to my Facebook profile awhile ago. Actually, it was around this time last year.
“Got up early this morning to get a head start on the day and take the dog for a walk. After my morning grumpiness wore off, I spent some time soul-searching and praying most of the way home – working through some issues that have been on my heart for a few years now. Upon returning, I was drawn – almost hypnotized – into our back yard where I looked to the horizon. It was pitch black outside, and the horizon of trees was even blacker – the sky above a charcoal grey from the night’s cloud cover. But straining my eyes, I saw on the very edge of the horizon, the faintest – and I cannot stress this enough – the faintest glimmer of deep purple – the most beautiful purple I’ve ever seen. I would have missed it had I gone about my morning routine, but that moment was no accident. Coincidence does not exist in my world. That tiny sliver of purple was a message of hope. Today is a new day, and a new beginning for anyone who would take it. What would you do with a new beginning?”
Pretty cool, huh? And of course it’s true, and I’ve known it’s true all my life, but it’s easy to forget that today is a new beginning. Today is an opportunity for a fresh start.
The Cold, Hard Truth About Making Resolutions
The truth is that changing your life has very little to do with making a resolution on a certain day or time, but very much to do with living a resolution on a daily basis. There is no starting line or finish line when it comes to our goals in life. So, instead of attaching ourselves to a certain starting point, why don’t we attach ourselves to constant progress?
So, you have an idea of what you want your life to be like (hopefully), and from that idea, hopefully you also have a vision for your life. Maybe you’ve even written it down (good job!). From that vision, you may have come up with some goals and plastered them everywhere you can see (again, good job). If you’ve gone this far, then I bet you’ve also identified the things you need to do on a regular basis in order to achieve those goals – action steps that will help you succeed. But here is where most people fail. Sure, they know WHAT they want (goals), WHY they want it (vision) and HOW to get it (action steps), but when it comes down to the actual decision-making time, when it’s time to do the work… they fold under pressure, give in to resistance, procrastinate, etc.
You see, as we all know, all the planning and preparation in the world won’t mean a hill of beans if you don’t actually take action. So, take a hint from Navy SEAL and ultra-marathon runner, David Goggins: “If you are thinking about doing something tomorrow, do it today instead.”
And in case you’re wondering. This is Why New Year’s Resolutions Fail. There. I said it.
“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without power to change our destiny.” – Steven Pressfield, from his excellent book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles.
“A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow.” — George Patton
“The secret to getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” — Mark Twain
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Health-First Fitness Coach
P.P.S. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marine_corps/