I’ve been debating whether I buy in to the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing and quite frankly have not made resolutions in a few years now (some 40+% of Americans actively set resolutions)… I have been doing some self-study and trying to figure out why this is? Underlying is a whole greater discussion really, a sort of taking myself apart to understand each piece and why some parts of me that I loved so dearly are missing and others have perhaps taken their place. Is this just part of evolution of self, loss of self, or gaining a new self?
Well, this must be something in the minds of many as it’s the most popular searched topic right now on Google, the center of many people’s social media posts, and in conversations being held at the dinner table. As I have been internally reflecting and trying to sort out the pieces, not mentioning any of this to my husband, he walked in from the gym yesterday and said, “It’s amazing how crowded the gym was today, many of the same people I always see, many that are new and wandering… but you know in a month from now, sadly, most will not be there…. it’ll just be the ‘regulars’ again… why is that? Why do you think people make these resolutions but don’t see them through?”
This sort of sparked a series of discussions and debates yesterday… why we do what we do and why we don’t follow through and so forth, of course leading me to hopping on the computer and seeking out what others have to say on the matter, a little research so to speak. (I don’t know why my high school students would grumble at this task so much… it’s actually pretty fascinating what you can find out there.) Here’s what I found:
(photo credit: Wikipedia)
The act of making resolutions originated among various religious groups for purposes of paying debts, making promises, asking for forgiveness, and to re-affirm commitments. It was the Great Depression that popularized the tradition of New Years Resolutions for Americans. (Wikipedia) Fast forward to the 21st Century and you’ll find several articles and discussions centered around various data and viewpoints on resolutions, the people who succeed with them, the people the fail with them, and why. In order to not bore you with a research paper here, I’m going to summarize/paraphrase the massive amounts of information I found. While an average of 40+% of people are making resolutions some 80% fail at keeping these promises/goals. Why are so many failing? And why are some 8+% succeeding? What is the difference between the two… not to mention the 4% that I fall into of people that aren’t making any resolutions at all?
It is assumed, studied, and understood that the vast majority of people that fail at keeping their resolutions are making goals that are: unrealistic, unmeasurable, but most of all incompatible to themselves and who they are. People are trying to suddenly or drastically change who they are rather than more goals focused on what they are doing. The people that are succeeding are on record as making goals that align with who they are at their core, are measurable, specific, and do not entirely uproot their lives in a chaotic manner. They are making more subtle shifts and changes in their daily lives to achieve the bigger self or picture that they are aiming to become or achieve.
(photo credit: 110pounds.com)
I stumbled across a website that really spoke to me on the issues and varying opinions or “how to’s” at this difficult task of goal setting and promises to self. I guess my self-study has been mildly successful as I have realized that I shy away from actually setting goals because I have completely failed at the process. Admittedly, I have not made goals that are compatible nor realistic for me nor my life. How bleak and discouraging right?! Wrong! This is where I get to practice, actively practice, something challenging and new!! This is actually rather enticing! Basically, activepause.com says that “a proactive attitude is useful” and go on to provide 3 steps (I can do 3 steps people!) for sustainable, mindful, and lasting change. Based on the advice given from this site, I plan to change my relationships with my goal(s) from here on out… daily practice, re-committing daily, revising/revisiting daily, and a more accountable process while being organic/fluid, and forgiving. Looks like the journal that my brother gave me for Christmas is going to come in handy! So, today, I am joining the act of goal-setting, making resolutions, and action. I plan to share more with you on my progress, my successes, and even my failures along the way… I hope you not only don’t mind, but will share with me too!
(photo credit: Pinterest)
Most importantly, I find that anything we do, it’s important that we focus on our authentic selves, which for many of us is hard to find in all of the noise of the outside world, and pressures from fitting/blending in to our societies. Maybe that is part of the resolution process here: seek to find and become our authentic selves, and of course in the process of the goal-setting/seeking, find our mindful change.
In conclusion, I want to hear from you…. what do you think about resolutions? How do you make them? How do you keep them? Should we start an accountability segment on this site to help one another achieve our goals??? (comment below)
Look forward to hearing from you and wish you all the best!