Each year, in early January, billions of people go through an annual tradition: setting new year’s resolutions. Pumped full of “motivation,” they set out to lose weight, earn more money, master a new skill, or finally stop watching so much TV.
Each year, in February (if not sooner), most of these people, now a lot less motivated, engage in a second time-honored tradition: giving up on their new year’s resolutions.
Now, I’ve already made my stance on motivation very clear: it’s nice, but overrated and not as critical as it’s made out to be. So yeah, most new year’s resolution-makers are over-relying on motivation. But there’s a more fundamental reason why new year’s resolutions are almost always doomed.
You see, every November-December, there’s a third annual tradition that doesn’t get talked about much: coming up with ideas for new year’s resolutions. How often do resolutions just pop into someone’s head on new year’s day? Almost never- they were typically on that person’s mind for a month or two beforehand.
Yet what does that say, if you thought of your resolution back in November, yet didn’t start it until January? It says you’re not that serious about going through with it, that’s what.
And that leads us to the dark truth about new years resolutions: most of us have already decided to fail at them. They are, almost by definition, things we aren’t that committed to. And far from spurring us to better our lives, the annual tradition of new years resolutions becomes an easy excuse to put off any self-improvement goal that we think up in the later parts of the year.
How many times have you come up with a goal for yourself, and then said “That’ll make a good new year’s resolution?” If you’ve done this even once, that means you’ve fallen into the trap of resolutions as excuses to procrastinate. And it’s time to say “never again.”
If you’re at all serious about crushing it in 2016- sit down right now, come up with 1-3 resolutions, and start on them today. Take whatever small step you can in the time you have left before going to bed tonight. Don’t pick more than three resolutions- you can always add more later in the year (waiting till new years is stupid, remember?).
The best time to start on your new year’s resolutions is November or December. If you wait until January, you shouldn’t bother at all.
Start on your new years resolutions today. No excuses.