“Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365-page book. Write a good one.”
Brad Paisley, Songwriter
Resolute or Not Resolute
When is the last time you stuck to a New Year’s resolution? Did you end up going to the gym more, or cutting salt from your diet, or watching less TV? I can tell you that I have had my fair share of struggles in meeting the goals I set at the beginning of the year. While I had good intentions, many of my goals didn’t make sense for me, or I didn’t have the budget or time to actually make it work out. I can tell you the last time I subscribed to New Year’s resolutions, I did not go to the gym 3 times a week or make one new friend a week – because that’s not how life flows for me.
Year after year, I began to get disappointed in myself. So, a few years back, I decided to think differently about how I approach my goals for the year. While some may argue resolutions are a complete waste of time, I think they have some value and tradition. Looking at the habit itself of setting resolutions, we can learn something. January, the first month of the year, is named after an old god named Janus. Janus had two faces, one looking forward, one looking back. Janus is at the root of our calendar, and our tradition of resolutions – for we look back on our past mistakes and failures to make a plan for the coming year. Setting resolutions is important for our tradition, but many still struggle to meet these expectations. In fact, there are thousands of people chatting about it online. According to one study a few years back, only 8% of people follow through with their resolutions. So, maybe it’s time we rethink how we set yearly goals.
As someone who cares about making progress for myself in my health, wellbeing, and overall lifestyle, I didn’t want to get rid of goals altogether – I just needed to rethink it a bit. That’s how I decided to create annual themes for myself. A theme is a specific quality, subject, or concern. Each year, I think about an overall theme I want to tackle, be it health, mindfulness, food, family, or work. Then, I set out to not create goals around that, but remind myself of my theme every time I need to make a big monetary or life decision. Themes, for me, help to guide me, frame my year, and be more practical with how I approach annual goal setting. Give it a try!