Were you one of many who made a New Year’s resolution? If so you are not alone. The arrival of the New Year allows us to start afresh and put events of the past behind us in the rearview mirror. Some say the new year is like starting to write a book with all the pages blank, or for an artist, an empty canvas waiting for paint.
The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that they are not very successful. Most fail within the first two months.
There’s a famous saying, “(God) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
This is where we need the wisdom to make the right choices or plans for the new year ahead and the future.
Researchers say that resolutions fail because they are goals or objectives and that we approach them in a way that guarantees failure. Perhaps we focus too much on the destination and not enough on the journey. Most likely, we set goals that are too hard to achieve or unrealistic.
Goal-oriented perspectives can motivate some but are too black-and-white for others.
It is best to set attainable destinations or those with waypoints along the path. That is where the wisdom comes in, choosing where we are going and which resolutions will stick.
We need to think SMART. That is an acronym coined in the journal Management Review in 1981 for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. It may work for management, but it can also work in setting your resolutions too.
Let’s pretend to use SMART for a New Year’s Resolution. Let’s use a very familiar one, setting our resolution to lose weight. But we need to encourage success. If we use SMART, we need something specific, let’s say five pounds, it is measurable and it is achievable because it is a realistic target. It is relevant because it is in our health plan, and we can make it time bound by saying we have one month to lose those pounds.
That’s an example of how a resolution can be engineered to succeed.
It’s all in your head. Psychologists suggest that the New Year provides an opportunity to adopt a more optimistic attitude that can and a happier and healthier life. We really are talking about the power of positive thinking.
Motivational guru Zig Ziggler says, “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude that determines your altitude.” And perhaps that is the best way to look at a New Year and a new start.
Let’s face it, after 3 difficult years for almost everyone, achieving simple goals, including physical and mental health, make a lot of common sense. Enjoying each new day no matter what it brings and appreciating family and friends. To me, that’s where true happiness lies.
The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to strive for greater happiness and well-being. It’s a healthy way to start 2023!