… at your New Year’s resolutions.

One January I sat down to write out my very first attempt at New Year’s resolutions. I had big dreams for my year: I was going to read more, exercise more, lose weight, wake up earlier, love my wife better and save the world. Besides saving the world, I didn’t get too far on any of those goals. 

By February I had canceled my gym membership, gained five pounds and was doing a fairly incredible job at NOT loving my wife well. For years I had made fun of people who made New Year’s resolutions, and had made even more fun of the people who couldn’t follow through on them. Now here I was 34 days into the New Year and my dreams for the “Year of a Lifetime” had already ended.

Through that journey I learned some valuable lessons about how to make goals that actually work and how to make goals that don’t.

IF YOU WANT TO FAIL MISERABLY AT YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS, THEN JUST FOLLOW THESE FOUR SIMPLE RULES:

  • How to fail: Write out too many goals. I looked back at my goals for 2013 and I had 32, count them, 32 New Year’s resolutions. No one can accomplish that many, much less remember half the list. How to succeed: Write down three very specific, very doable goals.
  • How to fail: Write year-long goals. You have no idea where you will be in 12 months or what you will be doing, so why write out a goal that would take a year to accomplish. We live in a microwave culture, so you have to set microwave goals. How to succeed: Set goals for two to three months at a time.
  • How to fail: Write out broad goals. I’m sure we all want to eat healthier and exercise, but how in the world will you know if you are actually doing it? You have to be more precise. How to succeed: Quantify everything you want to do (i.e. go on a Daniel fast for thirty days).
  • How to fail: Don’t tell anyone. If you don’t tell other people what you are doing, then you have zero accountability besides yourself. Last time I checked, I am my own worst accountability partner. The reason Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers work so well is the accountability factor. How to succeed: Once you have two or three very specific, very short goals, tell someone to hold you accountable to them and/or invite them to do it with you.

WHAT ARE SOME OTHER SURE-FIRE WAYS YOU HAVE FAILED MISERABLY AT YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? WHAT ARE WAYS YOU CAN TURN THAT AROUND THIS YEAR?

By Josh Lawson