We’re less than a month away from New Year’s Eve, which means many of you have probably started fantasizing about your New Year’s Resolutions.
How do I know this? Because I have. And you and me … we’re a lot alike.
And what we think we love about New Year’s Resolutions, and what we actually love about New Year’s resolutions, are really quite different.
- What we think we love about New Year’s Resolutions is that, as soon as January 1st rolls around, we’ll immediately begin this grand, sweeping change that will drastically improve our lives.
- But what we really love about New Year’s Resolutions is that we still have 20-some odd days left to procrastinate actually making the grand, sweeping change that will drastically improve our lives.
Because change is hard. So we like to avoid it.
How do I know this? Because it’s what I do. And you and me … we’re a lot alike.
I always get all excited about doing this, that, or the other in the new year. Come January 1, I’ll start doing this! Come January 1, I’ll stop doing that!
It’s all a bunch of phooey and fiddlesticks.
Claiming today, December 3rd, that I will immediately start this or stop that on January 1, 2015 is no more significant than claiming on July 28th that I will immediately start this or stop that on August 26th.
It’s not a resolution — unless the resolution is to procrastinate. Which is why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work.
You know what does work? Taking one small step, right now, in the direction of your goal. That’s it. That’s what works. Nothing else.
Because one small step leads to another step, which leads to the next step, and then the next step, and so on … until you actually reach the destination you were fantasizing about.
But fantasizing about it gets you nowhere. Neither does procrastinating. Only one step small step after another — starting with that first step.
Right here, right now.
So, this December, please join me in rejecting the mythical, self-defeating notion of the New Year’s Resolution.
Embrace the idea of the New Here Resolution. It means don’t wait until January 1, 2015 to do what you could do today, here and now, December 3, 2014.
What difference will 29 days make? No difference but negative.
- Because if you wait until January 1 to start doing something you could start doing today, you’ll be 29 days behind where you could be.
- And if you wait until January 1 to stop doing something you stop doing today, you’ll have 29 extra days to make up for come January 1.
Admit it: this kinda sucks to think about. It removes all of the excuses and immediately places accountability on us.
I want to spend December doing what I’ve been doing, because it’s easier. Now I can’t, because I had this realization and wrote this post. So I need to follow through on it. Now January 1, 2015 isn’t 29 days away. It’s here. And my New Year’s Resolution now has to become by New Here Resolution.
What is mine?
There are many. I want 2015 to be better than 2014, and I realize I need to keep improving to make that happen — which means I have to stop doing things that are not productive and don’t move me and my loved ones forward … and start doing things that do.
Here’s the first one:
I’ve put on some weight. Too much. Poor eating habits plus a reduction in physical activity will do that over time. I need to change it.
But I’m not going to lose 20 or 30 pounds tomorrow. What I can do, though, is set a goal, and then make one better decision right now, that will lead to a next better decision tonight, that will lead to better decisions tomorrow, and the next day, and the days after that … until over time, step by step, I reach my goal.
So yesterday I told myself I wouldn’t snack at all during the day. You see, working from home is a blessing and a curse, as anyone who works from home will tell you. And one of the curses is the constant presence of the fridge and pantry — each there to be raided during any short break in the day.
Raid them enough times, and over time, you gain weight. Conversely, choose to not raid them enough times, over time, and that weight will be lost.
It can’t happen all at once, but it can happen over time as long I make the right decision here and now, and then build positive momentum toward my goal.
So I did.
All I had to eat yesterday was lunch. No snacks. And then I got a workout in. (Amazing how one small decision makes the next one easier.)
Today my plan is the same. Tomorrow too. Eventually I hope to add getting back on the yoga mat to this plan (since I still haven’t fully woken up yet, apparently).
I’m excited about my New Here Resolution — about making better decisions right here, right now, and not waiting for some arbitrary date off in the future.
So let me ask you:
What were you planning on doing come January 1, 2015?
And how can you start doing it right here, right now, instead of waiting?
Public declarations are a hell of a way to hold your own feet to the fire. Feel free to use the comment section below if you think it will help …
Flickr Creative Commons Image of Times Square New Year’s Eve ball by Susan Serra.