the BLOG of stuart mcdonald


Why Your New Year’s Resolutions Will Fail
January 1, 2010, 9:09 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

This New Year most people will make plenty resolutions — things they want to do, goals they’d like to achieve, and choices they’ll make to enhance their personal lives. And the majority of those who make them will likely, by March or April, forget all about those resolutions they were once so passionate about.

Why is that? Why do our New Year’s resolutions, while often made with the best intentions, sometime fail to come to fruition?

Perhaps it’s because we simply don’t want it enough. Whatever we want to change, be it a habit, or our weight, or a lifestyle choice, is too comfortable and familiar to us. Changing it would bring an uncomfortable awkwardness that we’d rather forego for the familiar. You have to come to the place of being absolutely fed up before you do anything. The place where you will do whatever is necessary to change the situation. Until you reach that place, it’s likely that things will continue remain the same.

Let me give you an example (I already know people will be critical of me for using this example, but it makes the point very well). An overweight person is overweight because they choose to be. Yes, I said it. They’re comfortable with their weight. If they weren’t comfortable with it, they’d do something about it. Sure there are skinny people who are unhealthy just like there are heavier people who are healthy, and genetics plays a role (but not as big as most would have you believe — too many use it as a crutch anyhow) but all-in-all, you are the weight you are because you’ve made a choice. Granted, that choice may not always be a conscious one, but it is a choice nonetheless.

So maybe it’s that we really don’t want our goal as bad as we think we do and thus we lack proper motivation to see it through to it’s completion. Or maybe there’s another reason that our resolutions might fall flat — the fact that our goals and resolutions are not anything measurable, making them, in effect, truly unachievable in the first place.

We say things like, “I want to be a better boss (or employee),” or, “I’m going to get in shape this year,” and, of course, the ever popular, “I’m going to grow closer to God.” Those are all great goals and wonderful resolutions, but at the end of the year, as you look back as we often do, how do you know if you’ve completed them? How do you measure being a better boss, or getting in shape, or becoming closer to God, without measurable, attainable goals and benchmarks to pass?

You don’t. A goal can only be accomplished if it can be measured. The same is true for resolutions. If your resolutions can’t be measured, they’ll never be manifested.

Instead of saying, “I want to get in shape this year,” create a measurable goal like, “I want to lose ‘X’ amount of pounds, or attain ‘Y’ percentage of body fat.” Instead of just saying that you want to grow closer to God, create a goal to read through the Bible during the course of the year (or if that’s too much, read through Psalms and the New Testament). Take a broader goal, like becoming a good employee (or boss), and break that into measurable steps that you can see yourself attaining.

Remember, you won’t change anything, regardless of how measurable your goals are, unless you are truly uncomfortable with leaving it the way it is now. And at the same time, any goal or resolution that can’t be measured it doomed to fail before you even start it. So in setting goals this year, make them measurable, and desirable. Then you can look back at this time next year and see the changes you’ve made.

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