At the end of every year when the chimes of Big Ben strikes 12.00 a.m. a new year is ushered in as some sing Auld Lang Syne. It is a familiar song that we all sing to as if giving our promise not to forget old acquaintances. We make resolutions of all kinds, this will include the pledge to loose weight, to go to the gym and exercise more conscientiously, to start on a new life path and so on. Resolutions are made when we decide we don’t want the status quo to continue. I wonder how meaningful this is, as most people seem to abandon their resolution, having deviated or even forgotten them before the month of January has ended. We are all guilty of this, but why does this happen, and what is our motive for making resolutions?
Resolutions are usually made without a great deal of thought. We tend to make them in the heat of the moment or because the new year feels like a good time to make a new start. Some guilt might be involved usually stemming from over-indulgence or a feeling that change is desirable. For example, a person might say I am over eating and the weight is creeping on so let me resolve to do more exercise. As a result he/she can be persuaded to sign up for membership at a gym. But as soon as a little time elapses the motivation dissipates and so too does the will power. Within a short space of time the resolve to change is forgotten. It is for this very reason that we find it difficult to sustain the momentum that is required to keep up the pace.
Whenever change is necessary it is much better to think in terms of goals not resolutions. So why does goals setting work?
- Goals require action plans but resolutions do not. Action plans work because planning provides a map for getting from one position to another. This story is a lovely example. My friend went into the bank intending to get advice on increasing her monthly savings to an existing personal pension. Once the advisor had assessed her financial position she advised that it would be better to put the money into paying off her mortgage. She set a goal to work toward paying off the mortgage in five years. A plan was devised which involved sacrifice. She reviewed the plan each year to keep on target. By the end of the fourth year my friend could see real progress. She was motivated to intensify her efforts and within the five year period she had achieved her goal. She was free of a mortgage.
- Goals can be monitored and reviewed but resolutions are general and do not require monitoring or reviewing. As goals are monitored and reviewed it is easier to see progress. When even a little progress is seen it motivates us to keep trying.
- Goals must be managed and require considerable determination. On the other hand resolutions must be sustained by sheer will power. If the intention is to go to the gym three times each week and other priorities get in the way the willpower to get the gym must be very high. When an intention cannot be matched by will power the tendency is usually to give up. Remember! The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
If you would like to do more than set a resolution for 2015 think in terms of goal setting. I would be pleased to offer my help in setting you on the road towards achieving your goal. Now is the time because:-
“A year from now you will wish you started today” ~Karen Lamb