Whether you are going to make New Year’s resolutions…
Whether you are tired of making (unaccomplished) resolutions…
Whether you find New Year’s resolutions humbug…
…ask yourself the following question. Why do you still have unmet goals – goals that would change (the quality of) your life – when you could have achieved them a long time ago?
At the end of each year most people review the old year and contemplate their hopes/plans/expectations for the approaching year. We, humans, have been doing this for a very long time. In fact, January is named after Janus, an ancient Roman God with two faces. Being a God of beginnings and transitions, one of his faces looks to the future, the other one looks to the past.
January and February were first introduced to the original Roman calendar in 700 B.C. by legendary Numa Pompilius, the second king of Rome. Until then the calendar had ten months, and about 60 days of winter were not included in the calendar. The New Year was celebrated in March even when January and February became part of the Roman calendar… Only in the second century B.C. the Roman senate declared January 1st as the first day of the year. Now Janus got associated with a new type of beginning and transition – changing of the year. Many believe that this is when the idea of the New Year’s resolutions originated (perhaps with a different intention than we have nowadays).
So, if we have been making New Year’s resolutions for this long then why haven’t we mastered this in over twenty centuries? Why don’t we stick to important resolutions any time of the year?
In my opinion it comes to either or all of these three potential reasons.
1. We don’t make an emotional connection to our goals.
This is extremely important. You see, if a particular goal made it to the list of your resolutions it means it is not an easily attainable goal. You know that it will require effort, labor, time, self-discipline, and commitment. Although long-term commitments work out better when driven by motivation and not solely by willpower, motivation can, and often does, expire too. Therefore, in order to achieve our goals we need to continuously hone our self-motivating skills.
There is a widely accepted belief that if we don’t do something we don’t want it enough. Ask yourself – how much do you want to achieve your goal? Do you want to achieve that goal in the first place? Seriously, do you really want it? You see, there is a reason why there is so much truth to the saying “Beware of your dreams, for they may come true.” It happens so often that we ‘think’ we want something, when it might be that your parents want that for you, or the society, your peers… It takes some inner work, self-exploration and self-realization to distinguish goals and dreams that are truly yours from those that are imposed upon you.
Even if the goal is very important to you, the chances are you will need to remind yourself every now and then about how important it is for you and how much you want/need it. Do it regularly.
2. We take our commitment to others more seriously than to ourselves.
This is also a very important aspect, because there might be deep underlying reasons to this. And if this is the case for you, then it’s time you really get some work done in order to understand why that is the case. Is it because of a low self-esteem? Fear of change? Lack of confidence? Sense of not being worth it? Lack of support?..
No matter what it is and no matter how big your reason may be or seem to you, I assure you that after finding out what holds you back, you will be one big step closer to overcoming it. There is a plethora of resources available for nearly all possible reasons, obstacles and circumstances. Please research, ask and seek help and resources. Act, even if you can make very small steps, for even small steps can lead to profound outcomes!
3. We don’t have tools for coming up with a realistic plan that will allow us accomplish our goals.
There is a lot written and talked about it. There are different approaches to setting realistic and results-oriented goals. I encourage you to do some research and find what makes most sense to you. What I found helpful for myself was adopting parts from different approaches and philosophies. Create and shape your own approach and philosophy that will meet your lifestyle and preferences. In that process consider your previous successes too.
If you do the inner work before the goal setting, you will be unstoppable! My wish for you is that this year becomes a year of achieved goals, accomplishments, health, happiness and harmony.