Starting fresh: New Year Resolutions. Should you even make one?
Oh yes, resolution season is well underway and like the tides, they come and go. When are resolutions a great idea, and when do you need to let them go?
By now, if you made a resolution, you have either already broken it, changed it completely, or started over. Some of you, like myself, have adopted the no resolution stance. What are the pros and cons of both options? Let's discuss!
Making Resolutions: The Pros
“The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —J.P. Morgan
The benefit of a resolution is you are making that first step into the world of change. These changes may be related to health, fitness, work, relationships, and other areas of life that you want to strive for. This is a good thing! Resolutions (or Goal Setting) is a helpful self-motivating tool that can give you both structure and a sense of commitment to a need or desire.
Making Resolutions: The Cons
If you make a resolution, make it attainable. If your resolution is to become a millionaire and your savings account is $200 you may need to stop a moment and re-evaluate why that particular resolution (though awesome) is important to you. If it is really to encourage yourself to save more, start there. This week, resolve to skip lunch one day and bank that money you would have spent. It may not seem like much now, but over time you can increase and stretch that benchmark and see progress. Your account will see growth, you will feel accomplished, and that feeds into putting more effort into doing so throughout the year.
The case for not setting resolutions, or letting go of them entirely.
““Each day is a new beginning, the chance to do with it what should be done and not to be seen as simply another day to put in time.” –Catherine Pulsifer.
Resolutions are only good if you know that you need them to meet that specific goal. Personally, I am a goal setter throughout the year. Some of my goals are daily, weekly, or more long-term. They fluctuate, as my life needs require them to. If I have a goal set this week that I am going to stop eating fast food, but I need to grab food on my way home after a long workday, I try to make smarter choices on what I order or adjust what I make the rest of the week. Like with anything, we cannot exist solely in absolutes. If we have an all-or-nothing resolution, it forces us into a corner. We all know life will happen, so allowing ourselves to accommodate those inevitable changes helps ensure that we remain steadfast yet flexible.
Sure, we may make it a full turn around the sun and succeed in maintaining our resolutions but what are we getting out of it? Is it worth it to us in some positive way? Or are we just using it as a self-punishment for some perceived wrong we had the year before? My advice here is if you make a resolution, think long and hard on the why, and make a plan to make it happen. If you are just punishing yourself for whatever you think did not go well last year - sit down and write out exactly why.
Example: Rose spent far too much money on Starbucks coffee in 2021, and has resolved to not have any in 2022.
Possible Resolution Revision: Rose spent far too much money on Starbucks coffee in 2021, and has resolved to cut her Starbucks purchase by one each week in January, by two in February....... and so on. The goal ultimately is the same but it allows Rose some flexibility in how she gets to the same place, without cutting out coffee entirely right out of the gate.
What are your New Year Resolutions for 2022? Or, better yet, what measurable goals have you set for today, tomorrow, and next week? What is your plan to meet them and why are they important to you?