The New Year inevitably brings about resolutions. If you know anything about us, we dislike the idea of New Year resolutions. Do not get us wrong, we believe in goal setting. We want everyone to set goals and work hard to achieve them. We want everyone to be the best they can be in life, through improvements in interpersonal relationships, financial management, and, of course, fitness, as well as other areas, such as personal awareness. However, most people that make New Year resolutions do not stick with them. The problem with New Year resolutions is most people treat the New Year as the driving factor for the goal, instead of making the goal the driving factor.
When thinking about the goal you want to achieve, you should not think of the New Year as the reason for the goal. If you do, you already failed, since the New Year will fade into the past along with the goal. Instead, you need to the think of your goal as the reason for the goal. For example, if you want to lose weight, that should be your reason for working to lose weight, not some date on the calendar. Apply this idea to any goal.
Another reason we dislike New Year resolutions is people will use them as excuses to put off working toward a goal. For example, a person will put off beginning a weight loss program because they are “going to start at the beginning of the New Year.” Those statements are almost always disingenuous. Individuals making statements like this are putting off working on a goal because they are not motivated, not because they are waiting on the New Year.
Let us think about the resolution “New Year, new me.” That is the most resolution of which we can think. You mean to say that after years of being the way you are, the New Year is miraculously going to enable you to become a completely different person? No, change does not work that way. If you want to change part of you, waiting for the New Year does not make a difference. If you are not committed to changing you will always be the same old you.
Speaking of commitment, if you really want to make a change, meaning you are genuinely motivated to improve yourself, you will be ready to do so today, not at some arbitrary date. Motivation means you are willing to start now and put in work every day to reach your goal. Once you reach your goal, continued motivation means you will do what is necessary to maintain the goal you achieve.
To drive this point home further, we want to borrow from another New Year piece we wrote in 2017.
“We’re not big on New Year’s resolution or the “new year, new me” idea. Most people who make these kinds of statements never live up to them. Instead, we prefer people who think in advance and make planned goals to achieve in the new year. On the surface, it may seem like we’re engaged in semantics, but we’re not. Read on.
The New Year’s resolutioners are far different from the planners. The planners are people who set a goal, determine a plan to meet that goal, and then follow that plan, adjusting as needed. The New Year’s resolutioners are people who get this awesome idea, get super excited about it, and then don’t follow through. Sure, they may focus on that resolution for a day, a week, or even a month, but they give up long before reaching the goal. The planners understand that commitment breeds success and that to achieve that success he or she must follow the plan, even if the excitement of it has died.
Take us for example. Every year we set physical training goals for ourselves. We then develop an annual (12-month plan) that is broken down into quarterly (three-month) cycles, and smaller training phases (usually 3-4 weeks). The plan is an outline for success with enough detail to make it comprehensive but simple enough that we can adjust it easily should we need to, and we always need to. That said, we adjust the plan to continue to be successful in the face of adversity, not because we’ve lost our motivation.
We set goals every year, not resolutions. We are not the fly by night people who make big plans and then give up on them the next week. The people who say “new year, new me” are almost always the people that fail. These people talk big and often know they’ll never follow through with what they say.
So, who are you? Are you the planner who will stick to the plan in 2018 or are you the New Year’s resolutioner who will burn out after a few weeks? If you ever hope to experience real change, you need to look yourself in the mirror, literally or figuratively, and honestly answer that question.”
The ideas presented then still apply today and always will. If you want to make real change in your life, you need to make a commitment every day, not use some date on the calendar as the driving factor. In that same line of thought, your goals should be driven by the fact that you want to achieve them, not for some other reason such as making someone else happy, looking good for an event, or some other reason, such as trying to prove you are better than someone else.
There is never an ideal day to make a change. There is always an excuse to put off working toward goals. Stop with the excuses. Once you do, you will realize today is a good day to work toward your goal, and every day you wake up is another good day to keep working toward those goals.
Everyone will face difficulties working toward goals. You can use those difficulties as a reason to stop working toward goals or find a way to keep working toward goals. The people who are truly successful in reaching their goals and then maintaining those goals are the people who find a reason to keep going, not an excuse to give up.
So, who will you be this year—the success or the failure?
Nathan DeMetz holds degrees in Exercise Science, Business Administration, and Information Technology as well as certifications in strength and conditioning, sports nutrition, run coaching, and other areas. His credentials come from organizations such as Indiana Wesleyan University, Ivy Tech College, Utah State University, and the ISSA College of Exercise Science. Nathan has 20 years of personal and professional experience in the health and fitness world. He works with people from across the globe, including locations such as Kuwait, Australia, and the USA.