January 1st. A new year. A turning of the calendar page. While a lot of us are heading into 2022 cautiously, a little gun shy after the last two years, a lot of us will be making New Years Resolutions. But I won’t be.
I haven’t made a new years resolution in a few years now. There are three main reasons for that.
The first is that I’ve realised that I don’t need to ‘turn a page’ in order to make a change. There’s a huge amount of symbolism around a change on the calendar. Everybody starts their diet on a Monday, a new month or a new season means a new approach or a different outlook. The biggest of these symbols is the change in the calendar year. But I don’t connect that new year to the new me thing. If there’s something I want to change in my life I just go ahead and change it now. Whether it be January, April, Spring, whenever. I found that attaching a change to a certain point in the calendar made for a lot of time spent waiting. “There’s no time like the present” is a cliche, but a very valuable one when it comes to changing your life.
I decided to go back to Bootcamp in 2021. It reopened in November and I decided to go back. November is practically the end of the year, I’ve heard it described as the “Thursday” of the year. It’s almost the holidays and the end of the year in the way that Thursday is almost the weekend. So, if I was a new year’s resolution person, there’s a chance I would have delayed my return and my commitment to today, January 1st. But that would have left me with 6-8 weeks of missed opportunities to improve my physical health and fitness. I would’ve spent those weeks making no progress. I know which is better for me.
So now, when I see the need to make a change, I put it into action as soon as possible.
This also avoids me making a resolution for the sake of making a resolution. If you get caught up in the fact that everyone hanging around the BBQ or the bar at 11:59 or 12:01 is talking about how they’re going to change in the new year you’re likely to want to throw yourself into that conversation with your own resolution. But is that the resolution that you’re really committed to? It’s far more likely to be “Oh yeah. I’ll stop eating junk food” or “Yeah. I’m gonna be a better friend.” While those are, of course, valuable things they may not be ones that you really have your heart set on. And without the firm commitment behind it the chances of achieving that aren’t high. So we end up failing and that’s not good. Not only not good for our mental health but also really pulls back the momentum on our self-development journey. Momentum is going to come up a lot, pay attention.
One quote that crystalised my next thought about new year’s resolutions, or the idea of attaching your ‘change’ to a calendar is by Bill Gates. Wild conspiracy theories aside *eye roll* it’s a quote I come back to often.
“Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a decade.”
If you combine that overestimation with the festivities of the New Year’s celebration, with the declaration of a resolution that might not be something you’re 100% on board with, with the idea that your achievement is based around a calendar, it is a pretty big ask. You’ve committed to something too big, that you’re not really into, that you have attached an arbitrary timeline too. All of that is not setting you up for success.
I make changes when I need to make them. I make a timeline that works for those changes. I make the success of those changes into achievable steps, smaller than the goal as a whole because know that taking four small steps is easier than taking one big one.
I’m not setting any new year’s resolutions. I will be setting some goals. But that’s for the next post.
If you want to chat about your resolutions, get in touch on my socials.
@leecolehayhow on Insta and Twitter.