Stop using the new year as an excuse to make the big resolutions in your life. You should be making resolutions (setting goals) constantly throughout the year, not just when the calendar resets to January 1st! New years is simply another day, and it’s no more or less important than the days before or after it.
This is the best resolution you could commit to, period.
That future person you want to see in the mirror one day is constantly reevaluating his life and making little changes that have the greatest impact. He isn’t sitting around at the end of November thinking to himself “well crap… the new year is only a month away, so I suppose I could just wait until then to start on the path to being happy / fit / wealthy / divorced / or whatever else!”
I know this because I’ve made this mistake myself, a lot! More than I’d really like to admit.
Some of the happiest and most successful chunks of time in my life have been a direct result of making new year’s-sized resolutions on a weekly basis, and then taking massive daily action to ensure I accomplished them. Conversely, some of the lowest lows of my life were due to not taking this honest inventory regularly, and procrastinating on doing those hard things that I knew would pull me out of the funk. Right this very moment I’m sitting on the tail end of one of the funkiest funks I’ve ever experienced, and it certainly hasn’t been a joyride for myself or my wife, Carrie.
The sad part is that 2012 started out on a high note. Really high. I have emails to friends in my archive that say things like “This year is incredible. I honestly think it’s going to be the best year of my life.” Boy was I wrong. But I was also 100% to blame. And not necessarily due to bad decisions made along the way, but more due to the apathy I began to show towards my goals as the consequences of those bad decisions began to rear their nasty heads. I felt like I was in this haze that was just getting thicker and thicker, and it didn’t matter what I did to counteract it, it was only going to get worse.
That was poisonous thinking and couldn’t be further from the truth. Anyone familiar with solid personal growth and development philosophies would have slapped me in the face and said “You caused this asshole! Now start un-causing it!” I needed to revisit the goals and resolutions I had set that made the beginning of 2012 so wonderful, modify them to fit the new set of circumstances I found myself in, and then consistently take actions each day to make them a reality. But instead, I just consistently got more and more down on myself, and abandoned goal setting altogether… content to just fester in depression.
One of the most powerful currents in life is consistency. Consistency can bury you in negativity and regret just as easily as it can provide the greatest life imaginable.
So let’s make a resolution together, right now, just you and me.
Our resolution for 2013 is to stay consistent with our resolutions every month, every week, and every day. Our resolution is to make every Monday feel just as important to us as January 1st does.
Here’s a quick tip if you’re new to incremental goal setting techniques. Grab your calendar and simply write “resolutions!” on every Monday, and set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you. Each time that alarm goes off take a chunk of time to evaluate yourself in all of the areas that are important to you. Honestly ask yourself “where am I at with this? How did I get here? Where do I want to be? What can I do each day so that next Monday I’m closer to achieving X, Y and Z?”
Of course, it’s NOT a bad thing to set resolutions for yourself during new years, just as long as you’re not using it as an excuse to be unresolved the rest of the year.