Why the wait?
If it’s worth doing, do it now (or yesterday even). How does it make sense to wait all year to make a change, and why? So you can cram in that last carton of ciggies, slam another few poutines or yell at your kids for one more month? When put like this, we don’t even need to spell out the lack of logic.
Takeaway: If it means a lot to you, you’ll do it or start on it in the now.
They bolster your “shoulds” not your “celebrates.”
There’s nothing more disheartening than making a list of all the things you (or society) feels you are failing at and then throwing them into a self-esteem hood chipper of a resolution to “be better.” How about an “I’m awesome sauce now” inventory instead? Instead of get thinner thighs now, we look at celebrate the mobility of your body and all the healthful things you’ve done this year with it? Otherwise, we just end up collecting evidence to support our limiting beliefs about self, which messes with mood and motivation – the exact opposite of the point of New Years resolutions.
Takeaway: Celebrating your 2016 successes, instead of inventorying deficit areas will produce more motivation and happiness in 2017.
They’re generally, well, generic.
Get fit. Save more. Quit smoking. Yeah, yeah, we all like long walks on the beach too. Change in your life shouldn’t be pre-selected by the social rhetoric populating Facebook. It should be custom-fit to you and your needs. And, it should directly impact your life satisfaction. So, while more dollars in the account and less numbers on the scale are, generally lovely things, we have to be the bearers of bad news and point out the obvious… they don’t make for happier people. What does? Well, that depends on what your personal needs are. Samantha has a high sex drive, so getting her frisky on more often makes her feel happily sexilious. Aaron’s a pretty social guy, so more time with his buddies puts a spring in his step. Delia’s a little OCD, so that closet/desk/pantry reorganization she rocked out on Saturday expands her breath. Find the you and it needn’t be a New Year’s resolution – they’re just the injectors of happiness.
Takeaway: Custom fit your needs with life improvement behaviours for more frequent grins.
A year is tooooooo long.
If I asked you out for dinner twelve months from now, it would be ridiculous. We don’t even tend to plan vacations that far in advance. Why? We don’t know what we are going to be doing. It’s too long-range. It’s easier to take a big goal (like, get healthier) and slice it up into little bite sized, action oriented, immediate goals. Otherwise, it’s like chewing on a steak. So, get your metaphorical steak knife out and slice your big year-long resolution into digestible tid-bits.
Takeaway: Shorter time lines and incremental goals are more effective.
It’s easier to add than to remove.
A lot of New Year’s resolutions end up being about not doing things. Don’t spend. Don’t eat five cookies. Don’t smoke. A more effective way to add happy-making goodness into your life is to introduce alternatives or addictions. Grab coffee at inexpensive Tim’s vs. the local hipster brewhouse. Eat two fruits a day and don’t worry about counting cookies.
Takeaway: Find positives to throw in that make your day a little happier.
They don’t incorporate strategies.
The “how” is just as important as the “what”. If my New Year’s resolution is to drink more water, taking the thought train down the track a little further into “I will buy a 2L jug, and keep it filled on my desk” is going to produce better results.
Instead of making blanket resolutions, find and apply life improvement strategies.
(AND… THE BIGGEST by far…)
They don’t consider why you weren’t doing it IN THE FIRST PLACE.
New Years resolutions are like surface level insight; we may know what we need to do to correct a negative we may even a bit about “how” we got there (too many cupcakes!) but we often don’t know the “why”. The “why” is our underlying motive. The origin of our deficit behaviour or lifestyle choice. At Shift, we help regular people to find their common “whys”. So, instead of living in graveyards with skeletons of New Year’s resolutions, they walk into fulfilled, custom-built realities.