Welcome to the merry season of New Year, New You! Who needs Christmas when we’ve got failed resolutions waiting for us right around the proverbial corner? Ouch. But, let’s face it: It’s the sad, New Year’s truth.
A little more than half of Americans make New Year’s resolutions each year, but only 8 percent of those who do actually succeed in meeting their goals. How can this be, when our society is so instigated by resets and restarts? Whether it’s a new Monday, new month, or new year, we love a new beginning.
It’s natural to be fueled by a fresh start, but for you, New Year’s may not feel so fresh anymore. Time and time again you’ve written your resolutions, taped notes to your mirror, set reminders on your iPhone, and by January 6, you’ve given up.
The answer is actually quite simple: You’re not setting resolutions; you’re making wishes.
The typical New Year’s resolution is less like a goal and more like aspirational thinking. We tend to imagine inflated images of ourselves, even if we damn well know these alter egos are unrealistic, unattainable, and unearned.
This strategy of dreaming big, doing little may feel motivational and comfortable at first, but the reality is that these wishes are doing more harm than good. Setting unrealistic goals and relying on lofty wishes can damage your self-esteem in the long run. Overconfidence creates false hope, which inflates expectations of success and eventually leads to feelings of defeat.
Why do you think you feel so crappy on January 6 of each year? A poorly planned, baseless New Year’s resolution wish can blur the lines between the life you’re living and the life you desire, and keep you from pursuing the latter.
Wishes are recognizable by two unique characteristics. Pull out an old New Year’s resolution, and compare it to these traits:
- Wishing, according to the Oxford Dictionary, is to “feel or express a strong desire or hope for something that is not easily attainable; want something that cannot or probably will not happen”. Bottom line: Wishes are too big. Resolutions are just right. Start small and allow your resolution and confidence to build over time.
- Wishing is an emotional state, as described by the words “feel”, “express”, “desire”, and “want”. There is absolutely no action in wishing unless you count spending hours daydreaming about the end result.
On the other hand, a resolution is defined as: “a firm decision to do or not to do something, an intention or resolve, the act of resolving or determining upon an action, course of action, method, procedure, etc.”.
That sounds more like it. Now, try comparing your resolutions to these three indicators.
- Steadfastness. Resolutions should be firm statements that seek real change. We are so deeply embedded in immediate gratification and impatience that we can hardly stand to wait and work for what we want. Resolutions–no matter the end goal–are not easy!
- Intention. Resolutions don’t just happen. We will never (and, sadly, we mean never) look up one day and realize that our resolution is resolved. It’s crucial to be intentional in our pursuit.
- Action. Like we’ve said, wishing involves little to no action. Successful resolutions, however, should have a step-by-step action plan to help us see where we’re heading (and where we’re coming from). Successful New Year’s resolutions involve taking practical steps towards accomplishing our goal.
Here’s the biggest difference between making a wish and setting a resolution: If your resolution begins with “I want to…”, erase it and start again. If your resolution contains with “I will…and I’ll do it by…”, you’re on the right track.
So, how do we turn our “I want to…” to “I will…”? Step one: Realize that you can’t do it alone. Even the most independent of us won’t succeed without a little support from our communities. We don’t care if it’s your roommate, drunk uncle, Starbucks barista, or best friend at work. Find a support system, and lean on them.
Resolution Club can help you do that. Resolution Club is a simple, accountability-based program that manages your resolutions and your support community. It’s a software designed to help you better yourself and the world. Here’s how:
Resolution Club helps us make resolutions and not wishes by forcing us to whittle our resolutions down to bite-size pieces to consume daily, like vitamins. When using Resolution Club to create and manage your New Year’s resolution, you’ll learn how to break up your goals into the necessary action steps.
For example, Resolution Club turns “I want to run a marathon in 2017” into “I will run 3 miles every day for 30 days, starting on January 1”. And, Resolution Club not only helps you digest your resolutions a bit easier, but it also helps you keep track of your progress. You’ll see where you’re headed and how much you’ve already accomplished, effectively (and healthily) boosting your confidence and hope.
Resolution Club also brings our family and friends alongside to cheer us on and even complete our resolutions with us. By utilizing Facebook, Resolution Club creates a community of support while we resolve to better ourselves and the world. Anyone you’re connected to on Facebook can log in to see your progress, encourage you, and even complete your resolution with you. Resolution Club doesn’t want you to face 2017 alone.
Make a resolution today to throw away the aspirational thinking and start living with intention. It’s time we start setting resolutions, not making wishes. Join Resolution Club today.