Today is the beginning of a new year and throughout the world, hundreds of millions of people are making their New Year’s resolutions. According to stats and facts pulled together by Finder.com, almost 65% of American adults—that’s 164 million people—have made New Year’s resolutions, and the top five categories for New Year’s Resolutions in America are as follows:
1. Health (as in fitness, diet, etc.): 39.2%
2. Self Improvement: 31.64%
3. Money: 29.81%
4. Love: 16.51%
5. Career: 13.69%
Many plan to follow through, but the reality is that many will fail. Despite that, approximately 72.4 million people—that‘s 44% of the goal setters—believe their resolutions are in reach. The optimists far outweigh the pessimists—only 9.9 million people, or just under 6%, believe they won’t reach their goals.
All you have to do is go to the gym the first week after New Year’s Day and you’ll see the beginning of failed resolutions. The gym will be bustling with people going after a “better and healthier me.” Return to the gym a month later, and many of those people are no longer working out. A month after that, it’s back to the gym’s normal “business as usual” crowd.
I’m not trying to be a buzzkill, but this is reality. Resolutions are frustrating. For some, there is a pattern of failure that repeats itself every year. But there is a solution to what appears to be a cycle of doom, and it’s not to avoid making New Year’s resolutions—at least not in the traditional sense. Instead of New Year’s resolutions, try New Year’s reflections.
Reflect: Rather than try to do something new, think back and reflect on something you did in the last year. Something you accomplished. Something that you’re proud of. Or it could simply be something that made you smile.
Make a List: Get out a piece of paper and a pencil and write down ten of those accomplishments or proud/happy moments. Do it now. (I’ll wait!) Let me give you a few of mine:
· I presented 47 customer service/experience speeches at client events last year.
· I had a successful book launch of Be Amazing or Go Home in paperback.
· I finished taping season one of a business TV show of the same name as the aforementioned book. It can be found on Amazon Prime, Roku, YouTube and more.
· I performed a comedy and magic act in an Off-Broadway show in New York.
· My son makes a living as a recording artist, and I played with his band one night for a packed house. (We both play guitar.)
· I spent some quality one-on-one time with my daughters in New York.
Those are just a few of the many highlights of my year. Some are business-related and some are personal, but they all gave me some sense of accomplishment or made me happy. When making your own list, try to include things that are within your power to repeat. Of course, there may be some items on your list that are not repeatable. For example, you may have married the love of your life. That’s the kind of thing you will hopefully only do once. Instead of focusing on the wedding, focus on the honeymoon. That type of vacation is easily repeatable.
Create a Plan: Once you have made your list, look at what you’d like to repeat in the year to come. Then, create a plan. It may be as simple as taking out next year’s calendar and blocking off dates for a vacation. If it’s business-related, such as delivering another 47 speeches or releasing another book, it may mean a more detailed sales or marketing plan. Get as detailed and specific as needed.
Lather, Rinse and Repeat: This sounds like the directions on a shampoo bottle. Consider the events on your list as the lather part of the process. The planning is the rinse. Then it’s just a matter of executing your plan to repeat your past successes. You’ve already done it once, so you know you can do it again!
So, the choice is yours: resolutions or reflections. Either way, I applaud you for taking a step toward something you want, be it a better body, more success at work, a better love life or a repeat of something you felt great about last year. The idea is that you look for something positive and go for it. The beautiful thing about New Year’s is that it is just that—a new year, or a new beginning.
Happy New Year to all our readers! May this year be your best year yet, and each year thereafter be better than the last!