New Year’s Resolutions (NYR) are not just a wish list of what you want to have the next year because while visualization can help you reach a goal, nothing really happens without hard work.
NYR is not a list of target or goals, especially not SMART goals; and, if you read my latest book, After the Summit, then you know I’m not a big fan of SMART goals.
A goal is only a mechanism to keep us on track in making progress – to implement our vision of who we want to become. The goals themselves should not be the destination we are shooting for as a being. So, it’s more important to have a “goal” of who you want to become instead of a “goal” of what you want to have or points you want to score.
What we want to become is connected to our why. The deeper the connection, the deeper our why, the more it helps motivate us through obstacles and difficult times. Losing 10 pounds is not as strong as being healthy. To be healthy, you need to practice healthy routines constantly – for your entire life; but to lose 10 pounds, you might use a crash diet or a “dedicated” month-long boot camp – you stop challenging yourself after you reach your goal.
Last year, I set a goal of reading one book per week (52 books total). While I was proud that I accomplished that goal, I did notice sometimes I was anxious to move on to next book, instead of spending more time digesting the book. I learned a lot from those books, but they could have made a bigger impact in my life if I took more time to pause and put into actions of what I learned, instead of simply moving on.
Luckily I took notes after reading each book. Occasionally I got time to look through my notes and realized what I had missed in my haste to move on to hit my “goal”. The true objective of reading books is to improve ourselves, instead of for a “trophy” of hitting a certain number of books in a year.
In this information-flooded world, we are constantly being bombarded by numerous emails, news articles, and books. Some of them are not only worth our time to read, but they should be read slowly. You should take time to let them ruminate and to slowly put them into practice. Some should be read again and again daily, or over regular time intervals, so we can reflect and check our progress over time. But more than often, we are instantly buried in the new information we received immediately after and soon forget about them. Quantity trivialized the quality of important learning that could truly change our life.
Despite that I’m not crazy about SMART goals, I still believe there’s merit in making NYR. By having a goal, you are more likely to achieve it than not having one at all; but it’s important to learn how to set the right goal. Without boring you by repeating a whole chapter from After the Summit, how do we make NYR work for our purpose?
NYR should be about non-stop improving ourselves. Instead of revolutionary goals or many goals, focus on COMMIT to taking a small step to improve one area in your life at a time, the area you want to improve most, the area you are willing to put in your best effort with your whole heart, and the area you are willing to step out of comfort zone to suffer to endure in order to make it happen.
Commit means you do it consistently – day in and day out – until it becomes your habit. Then you add on to that small step and practice that consistently, and so on. Consistent small steps will add up to a huge improvement over time, and, instead of one New Year’s Resolution, you get Everyday Resolutions! You don’t even have to wait for a New Year, or any special event date, or tomorrow, to make a new resolution!
What is that one area in your life you want to improve most? What is the first small step you can take? Start now!