In the New Year, Whisper the Resolutions and Share Your Routines
A week after the winter holiday is a good time to reflect. Resolution talk is all over the place. It's on the local morning channels at the gym, every single magazine I subscribe to has a feature on resolutions and keeping them. Every blogger I follow has a post on it. Every merchant who can capitalize on the cultural need to self-improve at the start of the year has something to say (and sell) about resolutions.
But when I see a line up of the top resolutions (google it, there are so many!), I see they are repeats of the same type of things that people want to do every year.
How many people keep their New Year Resolutions? How many of yours did you keep from last year?
Did your resolutions include:
- being happier
- losing weight
- getting better at something (sport, salary negotiations, friendship)
- saving money
- get organized (your home, your photos, your garage)
- find a new job
And yet, these resolutions rarely change for many people, they are the same year after year, representing an ongoing battle as we try to control how our life should be spent.
Some lifestyle advisors will tell you to tell others about your goals, that the power of accountability is the most important. This can be true but it's clearly not enough. Then there's what psychology research offers as surefire ways to improve your resolve.
I'd like to forward my own theory here from years of trying and sometimes failing at resolutions: whisper the resolution (to yourself) and tell everyone about your routine. Emphasize your routine. Everyday. Every chance you get. Until you, your friends and your family know your routine by heart.
Here are two examples:
Resolution: Get kitchen and work space organized. Motivation: To cook more and work better.
Routine: Every week spend 45 minutes chipping away at those areas. Tell people you will be doing that every week and x time. Write out the routine you think you can stick with. If 45 minutes is unrealistic, reduce it by half. Or make the time you do it so small (but daily) that even you won't avoid it.
Resolution: Exercise more. Motivation: Get healthy and have more energy.
Routine: Schedule time with people to exercise. Former lunch dates become walking dates. Reading social media on your phone before bed becomes reading fitness & health magazines before bed. Getting ready for the next day isn't just charging your phone but laying out clean work out clothes you're going to use.
I'm going emphasize routine this year. I am going to find ways large and small to make the routine easy, easy to remember, easy to (in theory) get it done.
So here's my resolution: Convert my resolutions to routines. Motivation:To make 2015 the year old resolutions resolve. And new ones can come to fore. I can only imagine what might be possible if I've knocked the recurring resolutions out of the way.
Let's check up on each other in June, the year's half way mark. We can cheer each other on if we've dropped off in effort or need a shake up in the routine.