Even though New Year’s Day has passed, I thought I’d address the idea of “making resolutions.” Frankly, we all resolve to do things better — to act differently, to quit or to start anew — no matter the time of year. But in early January, making — and talking about — our resolutions is de rigueur.
But in our heart of hearts, I believe we do not expect to hold that “resolve.” Maybe not immediately but we (no matter how determined), in the nail-bitten, lazy, snacking, smoking, under-exercised recesses of our minds, we do not expect to reach that goal. We expect to fail. Statistics tell us that 90% of resolutions do not last through April. Why should we do any better? And yet, we still make resolutions.
While the numbers say that that failure is probably true; I believe it is also concurrently false. Stay with me here.
According to the website Static Brain, “People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions.” Of course, that’s true. Because if you don’t set a goal, how can you attain it? We should set an achievable target and realistic timeline to reach it. Strive for it. Acknowledge milestones along the way. Measure and celebrate progress.
It is also false because doing more than you would have done (without the resolution) is NOT failure. If you set — but don’t reach — your goal (e.g. number of pounds lost, cigarettes not smoked, miles run), you’ve probably made SOME progress. Think of it this way: if you keep it up through April, you made it a third of the way through the year. That’s 33% of your time and energy spent to achieve your goal. That’s 120 (non-Leap-Year) days of working toward bettering yourself. I would bet that you wouldn’t be where you are if you hadn’t made that original resolution.
Over the holidays, I played Monopoly® with my family. If I apply this 33% rule to that: on May 1st, I may not be standing on Boardwalk, but I am looking pretty good buying States Avenue where your rent is now $10.