No More New Years Resolutions!

By | Life Design

Jan 02

Around this time of Year, millions make their New Year’s Resolutions in a renewed effort to improve their lives. They don’t like what they see when they look back at 2012, and vow 2013 will be different. And so they make this list of things that they will do, or not do, from this day forward.

Photo Credit: Milton Friesen; Copyright Creative Commons

But, New Years Resolutions rarely ever lead to change. Why?

Because its like making a wish-list. A list of things you wish you could quit doing, or start doing. “I wish I could quit smoking.” “I wish I could lose weight.” “I wish I would eat healthier.” “I wish I ________.” Go ahead fill in the blank. If you are like me, it doesn’t matter how good last year was, you could sure find a thing or two to improve on. But a month into the new year will show that for most people, 2013 is shaping up very much the same as their last year. So why is that?

There are at least 4 easily identified problems with new years resolutions.

The first problem is, the desire for change is often not big enough. We’ll make all kinds of impromptu resolutions on New Years day without really thinking them through, but they lack conviction.

And the next problem is, often there are so many things we think we need to change, we are overwhelmed. Fear and self-doubt come with that list, and we give up almost before we start because changing all that is such a daunting task.

Thirdly, we lack motivation to change. Sure we’d like a better life, but it is so much hard work. How will this change my life? So why exactly are we doing this?

And finally, we have no idea where to start. We may have written down what we want to change, but we have completely glossed over how its going to happen.

So what if I told you there is a better more effective way? Go ahead, ditch the pattern of New Years Resolutions and replace it with a more effective approach.

Instead of a New Year’s Resolution, we’ll create one new habit! Lets be a bit more deliberate in choosing change. Most of our Life is dominated by habits. Habits will either make or break you. So find the one habit, not three, not two, just one habit, that will most improve your life. and then we’ll set to work on that.

For example, a while ago I determined that the one habit that would change my life most, is getting up earlier. By getting up earlier, I would be more likely to have time to work-out, brush my teeth, eat breakfast, spend time in devotions, read something positive, and a whole slew of other things. So I determined that to be my one habit that would change my life the most.

What is your one habit that would change your life the most? Think it through! You are only allowed one! Got it? Write it down! Once you have written down the habit you have determined will change your life the most, we’ll take the next step.

Write down clearly how that habit will improve your life. If you are not passionate about your reason for doing it, you probably won’t do it. For example, I wrote down:

Getting up at 5:30 AM;

  • will give me more time to read for and write my blog
  • will give me more time for devotions
  • will give me time to start my day by reading something positive
  • will give me time to work out and get physically fit
  • and these things in tandem will improve my passion for my business
  • and therefore, more money
  • and all combined, better health

Now that is some reason to do it. My life would benefit from it in almost every aspect. That is motivating. Now I am far more likely to do that. What is your one habit for this month? Replacing the negative news stories with a positive book? Replacing TV with a long walk?

Break building your new habit down into actionable goals. Not all new habits can be broken down into smaller goals. But most can. If your goal is paying off your debt, your goals might look like this:

  • find two ways to save $100 a month by end of February
  • find a way to increase my income $50 a month by April
  • increase the amount I pay every month
  • increase the frequency of my payments to save on interest

Those are just examples. If you are able to break down your goals into clear actionable steps, and write them down, you have just increased your chances of making a change this year by 450%.

Experts say forming a new habit takes twenty one days. So you can do this process over every month, why wait for a new year. You might possibly come away from 2013 with 12 powerful new habits. Talk about a year that will change your life!

Here is a helpful chart to help you graph the formation of your new habit: New Habit Graph Chart

Do you have ideas that would help us change our life instead of creating wish-lists every New Year? Leave them in the comments below!


About the Author

Milton Friesen is a certified Life & Leadership Coach, and Entreprenuer, and blogs about success, positive psychology, spirituality, leadership, team synergy, and living the best life.