The idea of making New Year’s resolutions is, in fact, not very new!
Babylonians made promises to their gods at the start of each year that they would return borrowed objects and pay their debts. The Romans began each year by making promises to the god Janus—for whom the month of January is named. In Medieval times, knights took a vow at the end of the Christmas season each year to re-affirm their commitment to chivalry.
Of course, the concept, regardless of culture or creed, is to reflect upon self-improvement annually. If you’ve made resolutions before, you’re not alone. According to the American Medical Association, between 40% and 50% of Americans set New Year’s resolutions. (Norcross, JC, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Vol. 58(4), 397-405, 2002)
Do New Year’s resolutions really work?
Unfortunately, New Year’s resolutions are easily made, and just as easily forgotten. The most common reasons for failing to keep resolutions are:
- Setting unrealistic goals.
- Not tracking progress.
- Forgetting the goals.
- Too many goals.
So why make New Year’s resolutions at all?
New Year’s resolutions are better than nothing! Almost half of those who endeavor to make New Year’s resolutions are more than 10-times more likely to have success at reaching their goals as compared to only four percent who choose not to make resolutions. (Norcross, JC, Mrykalo, MS, Blagys, MD, J. Clin. Psych. 58: 397-405. 2009)
Setting New Year’s resolutions tips the odds of success in your favor!
Start out by dreaming…
The first step in setting New Year’s resolutions is to have some fun. Daydream a bit. In fact, let’s make a list of your wildest, most exciting dreams. Come on, try it now—it’ll only take a few minutes.
Write this down…
We’ll work on refining your list later. What you need to do is capture your ideas of fun and challenging goals for the new year—and the best place to do that is right near the bottom your PlanPlus Online homepage.
Look for the Daily Notes Center. If you’re not accustomed to writing your daily notes, ideas, and records here—now’s the time to start.
I’ll lead you through some questions and you start writing your ideas in the “Content” box. In the “Tags” section, write some labels that will help you find your ideas—such as: new year’s resolutions, goal, 2017, etc.
Breathe deeply… relax… use your imagination
Sit back, relax, and write thoughts and feelings. There are no wrong answers at this stage, you’re just gathering ideas…
- What will I do in the new year that I will talk about the rest of my life?
- What would I do If I knew I couldn’t fail?
- What have I dreamt about but just assumed was impossible to achieve?
- Will I go as far as able?
- Am I choosing big enough challenges?
- Am I bold enough?
- What’s the one thing I could do in the new year that would make a tremendous positive difference in my life? The life of my family? My job?
- What real difference will I make to the people around me?
- What can I do in the new year that no one will expect from me?
- What will stand out for me?
- What will empower me to accomplish these goals?
- What challenges might I encounter?
- How will I overcome them?
- Where do I need to be more disciplined?
- What are some ways I can measure progress?
- What would make me happier?
- What books should I read?
- What classes should I attend?
Write down any other ideas of things you’d like to have, be, and accomplish. We’ll come back to this list later. For now, use your imagination.