Goal setting is much more complicated than choosing a goal and going after it. Setting a goal requires us to work with our motivation, energy, choosing to go after one goal over another meaning work with priorities, etc. Here's where I run into a problem with new year's resolutions. A new year's resolution is something that's meant to be set starting from the new year all the way through until the next year. That's a huge commitment! Let's think about that for a minute, if I set my new years resolution as one of the most common like I want to start working out 3 times a week, that means that for the next 52 weeks I need to go to the gym 3 times a week otherwise my new years resolution is broken and I failed. I have two major issues with this.
Issue number 1: As with any goal the most important thing is persistence and perseverance. It is completely normal to make a mistake, miss a workout, gain some weight while on vacation or during the holidays, what have you. The most important thing is to FORGIVE yourself and hop right back on the path of making that goal a reality. One of the major differences between those who are successful and those who are not is purely that those who are successful do not give up at the first sign of failure. They choose to see only one option that exists and that is success be that sooner or later.
Issue number 2: In order to make realistic goals, those goals need multiple layers or stages both in size and amount of time. This means that in order to reach a certain long-term goal I need to set minuscule goals for each week or even better each day. By focusing on the short term goals and completing the individual steps needed to reach the long-term goal, a person feels enriched, successful and most importantly unburdened. Keeping an eye on the long-term goal is important, but enjoying the path and the small things in life truly is what brings joy in each and every small success.
I'd like to add one more thought to this, which is that everyone has room to work on themselves and move towards a goal. If you want something, why wait for the new year? New year's resolutions tend to be an excuse to procrastinate, or make goals that realistically we know we should want but aren't prepared to make the sacrifices to achieve those goals. That's why most of them fail in the first month.
So why don't I make new years resolutions? I prefer to take life one day, one week at a time and focus on taking the small steps necessary to achieve my long-term goals, and before you know it I look back and say wow! Look at all that I've achieved! Look at how far I've come. This year I urge you to make realistic goals with realistic timelines. Especially if it's a long-term goal it's difficult to say maybe if it can or should take a year or maybe a year and a half. So don't add pressure to your life by needing to complete something by the end of next year or by giving yourself the option to fail and quit. Make short term mini-goals and carry those out the best you can. And who knows, that one year goal might be a reality already by July!