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Building a Distinct Approach to Your New Year’s Resolution

For as widespread as the practice of setting New Year’s Resolutions is, almost more common is the expectation that these resolutions will not, in fact, be kept.

Are we becoming too cynical? Or are we merely laughing at our own failings?

The problem with how we traditionally approach New Year’s resolutions is that it’s such an all-or-nothing affair.

Most of us set an ambitious goal for ourselves. So far so good. It’s helpful to have a goal and for that goal to be specific.

But then we articulate the goal as an all-or-nothing proposition. In other words the only two options available are to keep it entirely or to fail it utterly.

“I will lose 15 pounds.” “I will keep my desk clean.” “I will stop calling the Trojan fans I work with demeaning names… however much they may deserve it.”

Instead of setting yourself an ambitious New Year’s resolution this year, try building one.

When building something, you always have what you have constructed so far even if you do not have everything you set out to build. In other words, there is progress along the way that can be observed and celebrated, even if the building isn’t yet complete.

You could choose to reduce the amount and frequency of sweets you eat little by little. You could begin cleaning your desk by sorting your mail as soon as you get it. You could extend small, if superficial, compliments to your Trojan co-workers like, “I’ll bet USC wins their bowl game this year… Oh… That’s right… They aren’t going to a bowl game this year.”

The point is that you’re making a start. A real start. A concrete start. Even if a small start.

Change takes place slowly. Change takes place incrementally. New Year’s Resolutions that are worded as change that can take place incrementally¬†over longer periods of time will have a much greater likelihood of success.

Success can be experienced as progress along the way instead of an all-or-nothing pass/fail at the end.

Make this the year of building your New Year’s Resolution.

On your side,

- Karl Edwards

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