It’s February 1st, how’s your NYE resolution going?
Every year, right after the ball drops, the same question ripples through the room “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” I’ve found, in my own experience, the practice of setting NYE resolutions to be a futile effort. They are always either unrealistic, too ambitious, or simply not aligned with my greater goals. I’ve had all the typical goals: get in shape, eat healthier, spend more time with family, etc but if any progress is made on them it happens in the first 1-2 months of the year, in a minimal way, and then stops, D. O. A.
And I’m not the only one who has this experience. While a change for the better is an excellent idea, the reality is that of everyone who sets an NYE resolution about 88% will fail. Of that 88% more than 23% admit to forgetting their NYE goals. How is that a positive strategy for change? You’ll even hear of people who put off changes they want to make in December, as they plan for a January execution.
NYE Resolutions have never worked for me and for the first time on January 1, 2018 I didn’t set one. An experimental year of making changes when and where I wanted to, and not feeling like a failure because my path changed over the course of 365 days. In some ways, I did make a small, underlying resolution: no expectations.
I left the question of “What will the next year bring?” completely open-ended. Granted I’ve always been a goal-setter and I even wrote a post back in April about what my plans were, but I wanted to be sure that 2018 was not about completing a checklist or brushing off missed goals. My favorite part of that Spring piece is a simple sentence that has become my mantra:
Someday isn’t coming.
Now before I start to sound like a massive pessimist (if I haven’t already) please know that the meaning behind Someday isn’t coming isn’t meant to be negative, it’s meant to be motivating. It’s the idea that Someday is so abstract that basing your life on it is the worst thing you can do. I think that NYE resolutions reinforce that Someday is coming. And that if you fail “There’s always next year”.
But where is the sense of urgency?
This is YOUR life.
Why are you waiting?
Having a “no expectations” year is what led me to take every opportunity in stride and continually shift and evolve my goals & plans. I started a blog, I worked out more days this year than any year since leaving school, I traveled more, I paid off $9,000 in credit card debt, I grew in my relationships. I am closer now to achieving some MASSIVE goals that I have had for 5+ years than I ever was when those same goals were on my NYE resolutions list.
So why would an NYE resolution have worked against me and my current achievements? Because I never once felt like a failure, even when I “failed”. I pushed myself far outside of my comfort zone because I hadn’t predetermined how far I was willing to push myself. And I didn’t have abstract resolutions like “be more outgoing” or “grow self-confidence” which allowed me to hone in on specific goals I’ve had for years. In short, it allowed me to focus on my “bucket list” instead of a “to do list”.
I’ve wanted to grow my self-confidence for years and 2018 was the first time I felt that little ping that later erupted into the buzzing aura of confidence that surrounds me every day. Starting a blog was one of the scariest things for me because I was so incredibly paranoid about what other people would say or think of me. I think a lot of that comes from the fact that any time I had previously tried to blog I wasn’t writing what I wanted to, I was writing what I thought others would want to read.
Now I truly feel like I have a blog that is my on and reflects me through and through. I’m not just out here mimicking what I’ve seen work for other bloggers. I don’t want to be a carbon copy of every other “girl with a blog”. I wouldn’t have even taken a mild step toward the direction of starting a blog if I hadn’t set a zero expectations precedent for myself at the start of 2018.
And now look where we are!
Every month, week, day, I’m finding new things that I want to do and acting on those motivations. There’s no waiting for a Monday start, a “fresh” month, or a new year to jump start. If I want to do something I’m starting now. Having a year outside of the standardized goal-setting of NYE resolutions allowed me to start my own clock, whenever I want.
Instead of looking forward in 2019 as a tool to fix your life and make the changes you want, look in the mirror. You are the one in charge. You are the one who decides when and where. If it’s day 32 of the year and you’ve “messed up” your NYE resolution shake it off and start again now. Not next year, not next month, not next week, not even tomorrow.
Start now and get away from the mindset that you’ve “failed” at all because you, my friend, are shiny, evolving, and able.