12/17/2015 06:46 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Anti-Resolution Resolutions


Yes, it's that time of year and the Internet is filled with people beginning to talk about their New Year's Resolutions. I don't know about you but my heart sinks. I've ALWAYS struggled with making and keeping resolutions. I've always felt that I'm setting myself up to fail each and every year. I've never felt inspired or motivated by them. And, you've guessed it, they never lasted beyond January! I'm sure I'm not the only one!

I've come to realize that resolutions will only work and I mean only ever work when there's passion involved. You need to know how achieving this resolution is going to make you feel. Really, really feel right down to your bones. For resolutions to succeed they need to give you tingles, they need to fill you with passion and make you a little breathless with excitement. Seriously! So, a resolution of say, 'going to the gym 3 x per week' just doesn't do it for me! I need to know how I'm going to feel six months down the line when I've succeeded. I need to know how it's going to make me feel about myself. I need to know how being fit and healthy and committed and proud of myself is going to make me feel.

A straw poll amongst friends suggests that most resolutions fail by the end of February and some never even make it past January 1st. And why is this?

  • because some are way too ambitious
  • because let's be honest, some you don't actually want -- it's just that you feel you ought to want them or worse, somebody else thinks you ought to!
  • because some are simply much too vague
  • because they're the ones you put on your list every year
  • because there are just too many of them
  • because some may involve someone else's commitment too
  • ...etc

Writing out your 'resolutions' must fill you with joy! Are you sitting there writing them saying, 'yes, yes, yes, these are so inspiring' or are you sitting there, shoulders hunched and thinking, 'oh crap here we go again, why do I even bother?' If any of this feels arduous or soul sucking in any way, believe me, you're never going to keep them.

What if we change the word 'resolution' as it's loaded with meaning, isn't it? It feels somewhat do or die don't you think? There's no space for grey -- you either succeed or you fail. And life's just not like that. How about using the word intention, or commitment or aim? Which one of those grabs you?

How about we flip this and create instead a 'stop doing' list? What will you commit to stop doing next year? Here are some of my thoughts...

  • I intend to stop overcommitting
  • I aim to stop worrying about things that are never going to happen
  • I commit to stop stressing over stuff over which I have no control
  • I'm determined to stop catastrophising!
  • My intention is to stop judging myself
  • I am committed to stopping persistent self-sabotage

Don't those feel so much better? Aren't they things we can work towards, step by step?

Or how about this idea? Instead of taking stuff out of your life -- which so often feels like a punishment -- what would you like to add into your life?

  • A daily walk to work -- even if you work from home
  • A gratitude journal -- noticing the tiny things that make you smile
  • An extra glass of water a day
  • An extra piece of fruit or serving of salad

If, however, you're going to insist on making resolutions, then make sure you ask yourself this question...'what will achieving this resolution do for me?' Let's say you're planning on entering an Iron Man competition (no I'm not!) ask yourself 'what will competing in an Iron Man do for me?' Is it about fitness, competition, resilience, proving something to yourself, determination? Keep digging around until you get to the answer that gives you goosebumps! That will be the reason you stick at it!

How would you like an inspiration buddy helping you keep up with your intentions/commitments/resolutions? A weekly text message? A weekly 10-minute phone call? A monthly kick-ass session? A weekday reminder of your commitment? Or something specifically tailored to your needs? Drop me a line and let's plan your 2016!

How hungry are you for this new year to be different? What will your life be like in December 2016 if you begin making the changes now?

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

Huff/Post50 Blogger Resolutions