Every year someone you know will be setting new years resolutions. They are going to lose weight, go to the gym more, stop eating afternoon cookies, read more, write that book, this list goes on and on. In the cold and dark of January the yoga studios will be full, gym memberships skyrocket, the parking lot at the gym is full. But come February, the yoga studios are calm again, there is parking at the gym again, and a lot of new gym memberships have been sold, but most people fall back to their old routines of not going to the gym and eating cookies.
I have always wondered why we set set goals for January, that is the worst time of year. Its cold outside, its dark, windy, snowing, raining, everything is covered in ice. Well at least where I live in the northwest. The weather isn’t any better in December, but at least there are the holidays too look forward too, and eggnog. Whats the difference between December and January ? A number on the calendar ! It will change from 2017 to 2018.
Why use a new year to set goals that you know you most likely are not going to achieve anyway ? Is it because everyone else is doing it ? Its just a fad to do it at the turn of the year. Sure a new year means you are getting a little older, maybe a little fatter from all the eggnog you drank (maybe that gym membership isn’t such a bad idea after all).
How many people take a look back at their new years goals in March and check their progress ? Not many, by the time the flowers of spring come around most people have long since forgotten their new years goals.
Setting new goals and actually following through requires on going accountability. If you want to set lasting goals you need to set them much more often and check your progress at regular intervals. You have to take small steps. Sure you want to set big goals, but you have to break them down into bite size chunks. If your goal is to go to the gym more this year, think about how much you went to the gym last year. Did you go twice in January and call it good ? Or did you go 3 times a week all year ? Setting a goal and forgetting about it doesn’t do any good. It takes work !
Instead of setting non specific goals like going to the gym more this year. Set something like, I am going to go to the gym once a week in January and see how I feel. In February I am going to go twice a week and try some new machines. In March I am going to join the yoga class. At the end of each month you can easily measure your goals and re evaluate your future goals. Didn’t make it to the gym twice a week in February ? Why was that, was it something out of your control ? There was a blizzard and you woke up to 3 feet of snow blocking your driveway ? Or was it something that you did like stay up a little too late watching that new show on Netflix ? Don’t beat yourself up for things you can’t control, but you can take responsibility for the things that are in your control.
The first thing I do in a new year is perform a postmortem on the last year. So what did you do in 2017 ? was it everything you set out to do ? Did you just even set out to do anything new in 2017 ? which goals did you achieve ?
I like to call it my 2017 autopsy. Yea I know its not as fun and sexy sounding as a new years resolution, but 2017 is DEAD ! GONE ! January is time to take the last year and reflect, what did I do right ? Wrong ? What can I learn from my experiences last year and apply them to next year. I don’t want to repeat the same mistakes, follow the same rocky road.
What did you do in 2017 ? how can you leverage what you learned last year to improve this year ?