How can I keep my resolutions? Good question.
Here’s a hint: There’s something you’re missing, and it isn’t willpower.
See, most people think that New Year’s Resolutions are a joke. 😅 🧐
That’s no secret.
To illustrate, here’s a meme I posted on my Instagram:
This sentiment is even backed up by data. Research gathered by from Strava (they seem legit) shows that most people give up on their resolutions somewhere between January 12th and January 19th. That’s pretty sad. I’m sure you’ve seen it. At some point early in the year, people just shrug their shoulders and go back to what they used to do. It kind of shocks me how little people care about them given all they hype they generate.
Because unlike most, I have a different point of view on resolutions:
I believe that resolutions really DO work if done properly, BUT most of us have a fundamental misunderstanding of how creating change works on a personal level.
We believe the change is “out there” as opposed to existing inside us.
I safely say this because I am someone that has resolved to continually create change. I know that I must constantly adjust about my internal movements a bit differently, create frameworks, and build a mindset for change.
So, yes. There’s still hope for your resolutions, but you can’t just go about your regular way. Otherwise you’ll just end up where you were last year.
So What’s The Problem With Resolutions?
While this is a huge topic that I can’t address completely here, I can tell you that there’s one primary issue I’ve noticed when people speak about their resolutions. That is…
You are not RESOLUTE.
I know that sounds overly simple and incredibly obvious, but by definition, to be resolute means to have resolve. That is, you are in a state where you have internally resolved a situation, concept, or mindset. Without this resolve, we are not firm in our direction, not determined to move forward, not bold in our choices, and not sincere with ourselves. We take resolutions as a joke or as a playful wish, similar in action to tossing pennies in a fountain and hoping for riches.
– Having firm determination
– Purposeful, bold
– Steadfast in spirit
By it’s very definition, if you are resolute, you will stay on your path towards whatever destination you have chosen, but…
This IS NOT about willpower.
Right now, you’re probably thinking that this discussion is about endurance, willpower, or grit. But no, being resolute is not the same as being able to “plow through” or go “cold turkey”. While they are necessary in many respects, those ideas can prove frustrating, can lead you down a bad path, probably won’t work, and may actually damage you.
We’ve been sold on the idea that we don’t have willpower. So to fix that, we are sold on a rigid and rigorous series of steps, some challenge, or some tool that will eventually lead us to some idealized place on our vision boards. This *can* work, but in reality, we have no clue how things will turn out in as little as four weeks, let alone an entire year or beyond. When it works, it’s usually luck.
So then things don’t go as planned. We don’t end up exactly where we envisioned. That’s the nature of progress. When things don’t go as planned, we can start to falter, quit, become disappointed, shame ourselves, procrastinate, and even go in the opposite direction of our goals. So is it just bad planning? Or bad goal setting? A combination?
I’ll discuss issues with planning and goal-setting in a later post, but for now, you should understand that staying on your journey is key, and that is predicated on having resolve. Without resolve, you won’t continue past January and will just be a part of another resolution statistic.
So what is a ‘resolution’ ACTUALLY about?
So if being resolute isn’t about willpower, what is it about? Fundamentally, being resolute deals with your relationship with your identity and the decisions you make. Based on how you personally identify at any given time, you will think and act as you believe you should. Those beliefs exist interally, not externally. (Having willpower doesn’t hurt, by the way.)
I think you can do a lot for yourself by finding out where and how you strengthen your resolve. Do you really believe in your resolution? Do you have that resolve? If you don’t…you might not actually have a resolution. You may just have an empty promise that you’ve made to yourself.
I’ll keep posting more on this topic, and will archive everything I come up with here on my Resolutions page.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.