I have an aversion to two things on New Year’s: singing Auld Lang Syne and resolutions. Well, actually three – drunk strangers who want to hug you at midnight.
I know exactly five words of that song: ‘Should Old Acquaintance be forgot’ and that’s it so I can give it a good strong start but then mumble the rest. It is pain. The invasion of personal space is even more painful, ick.
The most painful of all – the obligatory resolutions.
Who made this rule? Shame on them. Shame, shame, shame.
Personally, I believe it was an evil plot concocted and pushed by the diet and exercise industry. Evil, I say. Instead of a way to motivate our collectiveness, it instead ends in a majority of personal pools of disappointment and shame.
Don’t think so? How about some numbers? From the University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, as provided by Statistic Brain (conducted December 11, 2016):
- Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions: 45 %
- Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions: 17 %
- Percent of Americans who absolutely never make New Year’s Resolutions: 38 %
- Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution: 8 %
- Percent who have infrequent success: 49 %
- Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year: 24 %
For you 8%-ers out there – way to go! For the rest of us, I have a proposition. Instead of looking ahead with ambiguous life altering goals, let’s do something different. Let’s celebrate.
That’s right – celebrate.
Now I am not a big fan of driving our life journey with our eyes on the rear view mirror; however, I do think pause and reflect of the past can be a great thing.
If I do not appreciate where I was, how can I appreciate where I am and where I am going?
Sometimes I work on something and feel so disillusioned because I have not achieved it yet I am on the verge of giving up. This is when my very wise best friend will take me on a pause and reflect moment. She walks me back to see all the small steps I have taken and succeeded in only to realize I am much closer to the summit than I give myself credit.
Sometimes I have blips along the way. I may not create consistency in some aspects, but she can point out where I did achieve a goal, even if for a short time period, that since I did it once, I can surely do it again.
So what if we took those what would be resolutions and take a look back at last year to see if we can identify moments which we experienced success or created steps toward success.
According to the same article, the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 were:
- Lose Weight
- Getting Organized
- Spend Less, Save More
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
- Staying Fit and Healthy
- Learn Something Exciting
- Quit Smoking
- Help Others in Their Dreams
- Fall in Love
- Spend More Time with Family
Quite a list, huh? I think all sound awesome, although I am not sure how you plan to fall in love, but that is a topic for another day. Let’s take a look at one as an example: Enjoy Life to the Fullest.
I would love to be able to do this every day, but then everyday life does not always lend itself to this or I just personally have a crappy day.
But I do know that I am doing pretty good on this one because I have an annoying habit that my son and boyfriend like to point out: “you always see the good in things, don’t you?” is something I hear often.
Why, yes, I do.
I can look back and see some pretty big events this past year where I made a conscious decision to believe that all things happen for a reason and there is a positive reason that was happening. I can look back now and see that the attitude I adopted seemed to help shorten the difficult duration. In reality, maybe it did, maybe it did not; but to me it did and that is what matters.
I can also look back on specific incidents where, again, I (and the boyfriend or son) made a conscious decision to enjoy the moment.
Last year the boyfriend and I drove to Florida for a vacation. Here is something to know about boyfriend: he is a military guy with a strong case of absolute affection for schedules. Everything is planned and methodical. How we live together is still a fascinating hiccup of nature, but it works. Anyway, we made a conscious decision before we left that we had no plans. Really. On the way down we made some impromptu stops that turned out to be amazing and a total blast.
I can look back at instances like this and realize that even thought I would have completely failed at a resolution to ‘Enjoy Life to the Fullest’, I actually succeeded the majority of the year. This gives me momentum to know I can do it again this year and more.
So take that list of resolutions and make it a remembrance list. Look back at last year and identify and appreciate the times you did achieve, even momentarily, or made significant steps toward achieving those goals.
If you did it, even a little bit, last year, you can do it again. You can do just a little bit more!
Now, for those who like to set resolutions – go get ‘em!
I prefer to set goals and on an adjusted schedule and soon I will share suggestions, strategies and tips on setting and achieving goals (not resolutions) ~ stay tuned!
In the meantime, happy new year and congratulations on your list of reflections and what you did accomplish last year. You rock!
Out of curiosity, do you make New Year Resolutions? Are they the big life changers or smaller goals? If you succeeded – what was your key to success? Am I the only loafer out there not making New Year Resolutions?
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.
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