It’s that time of year! Not the holiday part, but the after effects. Once the turkey’s all eaten, the presents open, the champagne savored, and the NYC ball dropped, what comes next?
Diets, that’s what. The most god-awful invention on the planet. Or, sobriety. Which is better, but in this context, probably not lasting. Or even better, I’m gonna be a nicer person all year, just as I was through the holidays (if you were! LOL).
Because along with all the fudge and adult beverages, we pretty much all carry with us the Norman Rockwell version of what the holiday season is all about. And if you watch TV, you’re simply bombarded with it.
And while I’m all about being nicer all the time, resolving to do so starting January 1 (or 2. We always give ourselves through the actual 1st, as it’s a holiday and . . . well, you know the drill!) is a recipe for failure.
And we know this through scientific studies. Yes! Always a study out there 🙂 According to researcher John Norcross and his colleagues, who published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology
And only 8% actually succeed in achieving said resolutions. No wonder that diet failed on day 3!
But my favorite statistic is that the less happy you are, the more likely you are to set New Year’s Resolutions. And the kicker? Those who actually succeed in their resolutions are NO happier than those who do not. Wow!
And I’m all about being happy 🙂
Now of course, theories abound as to why all this is so. You make too many of them. You don’t focus on the one that matters most. Yada, yada, yada. But I think all those reasons are wrong.
The real reason? Twofold:
- First, it starts tomorrow. Or next week. In effect, anytime but right now. Not even today, but right now, this minute.
Because we live in this moment. We can regret the past or worry about the future, but those are not actually real. This is the only instant that matters—right now. This is it. This very second is eternity. If you don’t get it now, you don’t get it ever.
So if I plan to give up carbs January 2, I’ve already doomed myself to failure.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve vowed to start a diet on that date! LOL. But I no longer believe in diets. Period. They make you fat and unhappy. But that’s another discussion!
- Second, say you vow to live a more fulfilling life. Which is a nice goal. And you have translated it to specifics: I am going to write that book this year.
And therein you’ve just doomed yourself to failure again. Because writing a book (or anything you are looking at doing—I just know a little about this one J looks like climbing Mt. Everest when you finally start on it. And just think if you decided you really wanted to attempt Everest but hadn’t even taken a rock-climbing lesson, much less hiked a closer hill? How successful does that sound?
The point is, we succeed when we break our goals down into achievable baby steps.
For example, instead of intending to write that book, go right now—right this minute—and google writer’s workshops in your area. Identify a class and sign up for it—today if enrollment is open.
Eat that piece of fudge. No guilt. Guilt is a great sabotage for your goals. And then when you’re hungry again, choose differently. You can always choose differently—but only in the moment itself.
Today. Now. Take that first step right this moment.
Do you make New Year’s Resolutions?