Monday, December 28, 2009

Optimistic Mondays – New Years Resolutions

As a new year approaches, we often hear the phrase “New Years Resolutions”. At some point in our lives, we’ve all tried it. Sometimes we succeed. Most of the time, we fail. Why is that?

I do not believe in New Years Resolutions. When I hear someone talk about them, I cringe inside. Why? They very seldom work.

Most people that know me well know that I am a goal-oriented person. I LOVE GOALS! I set them on a regular basis. I set yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals, and even sometimes even hourly goals.

So what’s the deal? Is there a difference between setting goals, and making New Years Resolutions? YES! To me, there is.

A resolution feels so final, like there is no breathing room. I will write everyday. I will stop eating sweets. I will exercise 5 times a week. I will keep my house clean.

What happens the first time you don’t write? How do you feel after eating the first donut? Only exercise 3 times in a particular week? Too busy to clean the house?

When we go into something with a determination to succeed, but don’t allow ourselves any wiggle room, we will almost always fail. After the first sweet treat, we feel as though we might as well quit trying.

So many times I’ve heard someone say, “Well, I already broke my resolution. I might as well have another one.” Some make it a few days, some a few weeks, but most people eventually quit.

Goals, on the other hand, are much more flexible. You can set a goal to lose weight. You can decide you want to write a certain number of words a day/week/month. You can decide you want to start training to run a marathon.

The difference is that you have to set realistic goals. If you set the bar too high, you will most certainly fail. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to stretch. We should always be trying to push past our comfort zone. That is how we grow and learn.

If you slip up, and eat something bad, you can start again. If you thought you could write 3,000 words a day, but find you can really only do 500, you can adjust your goal. And don’t try to run a marathon the first time you go jogging. Take time, and build up to it.

Write your goals down. I once heard that a goal not written down is only a wish. If you really want to succeed, write it down, and refer to it often. Share your goals with a friend, and encourage that friend to do the same. Maybe you can work on them together, and help each other succeed.

Most importantly, do not quit. If you didn’t make it to the gym this week, don’t cancel your membership. Try harder next week. If you can’t go 5 times a week, change your goal to 3 times a week.

The more goals you accomplish, the better you will feel about yourself. I’ve witnessed this first hand. I’ve noticed a pattern in my life. When I get lazy, and don’t work toward my goals, I always find myself feeling down. I have no motivation, and my patience is not what it should be.

It is during those unmotivated times that it is even more important for me to get up, and get moving. I force myself to do something, even if I don’t want to. Before long, I realize my attitude has changed, and I’m in a better mood. I find that I actually want to work on my goals, instead of dreading them.

Don’t forget to share your goals with Heavenly Father. He loves each of us, and wants to be involved in our lives. No one can give you more assistance than him, if you are willing to ask for his help.

Happy Monday.

1 comment:

Andrea said...

I agree. Goals are much better than resolutions. I don't like being pressured to have resolutions at the beginning of each new year. I want to make goals when I feel I am ready. And if that is December 28th or February 4th, then that's fine.

I love that goals lend you so much more flexibility and can be set at any time, for anything, with whatever duration is needed. Most importantly, they can be modified.

I am looking forward to my goal -- I think. At least I'm looking forward to the outcome of my goal, rather than what it will take to accomplish it! ;) Thanks for the help. I'm sure I will need lots more of it!