New Year’s Resolutions…Good Idea or Waste of Time?

New Year’s Resolutions…Good Idea or Waste of Time?

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At the beginning of each year, roughly 45% of Americans make new year’s resolutions. Most of these resolutions pertain to health (lose weight), happiness (enjoy life more) or a new skill (learn a new language). Most are sincere when they make them, but only 8% of Americans are successful at changing their new resolutions into reality. Another 38% of Americans swear off the notion of making New Year’s Resolutions. For further information, check out:

http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/

A Little Inspiration: Check out the following link to see how one person set life 127 life goals when he was 15, and has spent a lifetime achieving them. www.johngoddard.info/life_list.htm

Author’s Perspective: This seems like a no-brainer. A new year’s resolution is nothing more than a stated or written goal. It is good to set goals, but if you don’t follow through on them, it is just a waste of time. It’s kind of like the goal I would set at the beginning of each semester “not to procrastinate anymore” after pulling too many all-nighters the prior semester. Without changing behavior, that goal will never materialize.

To turn a goal into reality is relatively simple:
1. Write it down and put it in a visible place.
2. Make it public so others can reinforce your efforts.
3. Write down small, specific steps needed to attain that goal.
4. Work hard to accomplish those small steps and cross them off the list.

I used to be part of the 38% who swore off resolutions. I thought it was silly to pick one time of year to make goals. It was the same rationale I had for sending flowers on Valentine’s Day (why send flowers on a prescribed date when I can do it any day of the year). I changed my mind a few years ago when I decided to teach my girls to set goals for themselves. Somehow the logic of the new year made sense.

My New Year’s Resolutions: 1) memorize the 44 presidents of the United States and teach them to my 7 year old, 2) learn to play the guitar and 3) live a simpler lifestyle. Learning the presidents is easy enough – break open the book of president’s at the breakfast table and review them. Set a small goal to learn three a week and set a major goal to recite them all by Memorial Day. Likewise, the goals for learning to play the guitar are pretty straight forward. Find a person who gives lessons and schedule the lessons. Set aside time to practice each week. The last resolution is more difficult. This one requires me to define what a “simpler lifestyle” means, discuss it at length with my wife and make big and small changes. Believe me, listing them here would bore you to death.

Your Turn:
1) What is your opinion about setting new year’s resolutions? Why do you believe that?
2) Write down what your resolutions are for this year? Write down the steps to achieve them? This is essentially your assignment for week 2 anyway.
3) Why do you think only 8% achieve their resolutions?

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