Why You Shouldn’t Set New Year’s Resolutions

new-years-resolutions

With the start of a new year, resolutions come to mind, but come mid-January (or February at the latest) you’ve already broken your promise. Why is that?

Resolutions, similar to goals, are set up to fail from the start. Here’s why:

The main reason why accomplishing your goals have such a low success rate is because even the best effort doesn’t result in perfection. This isn’t a scapegoat for not trying, but rather working the odds in your favor.

New Year’s Resolutions can be compared to starting a new business. The failure rate within the first 3 years is 80%. Now 3 years is longer than one month, but the concept is the same. Resiliency and patience are hard to come by. Call it a result of our fast-paced society, but we suck at waiting for results.

There’s nothing wrong with being ambitious, but making behavior changes is hard work.

If you’ve ever set a goal and failed at it, you remember the feeling. You’ll do whatever you can to not revisit that feeling because its debilitating. Hence the reason why we avoid goal setting in the first place.

Instead shift your focus to creating good habits. Not only are habits better than goals, but they are process-oriented meaning progress is the desired outcome not perfection.

For example: losing 20 pounds is a goal while living a healthy lifestyle is a habit. You may lose the weight (doubtful), but chances are you’ll gain it back and then some shortly after. But if you decide to workout 3 times a week (on average) and cut your weekly sugar intake not only will you lose the weight, but it’s a sustainable change because you give yourself grace for special occasions.

It’s popular to set New Year’s Resolutions in January because the calendar is a trigger for fresh starts. Beyond that there’s not a real good reason why then is the best time.

When you want to fix or achieve something following the the right process is almost more important than the desired outcome. At it’s core nothing is wrong with goals, but if you want to set yourself up for success in the new year focus on habits and the results will come in time.

Why Goals Are Overrated

goals-are-overrated

Coaching is much more like personal training than therapy, yet goals shouldn’t be the focus.

Let’s take your next career move as an example. If you’re looking for a new job, you’re normal. But the question is once you achieve that goal, will you be happy?

Research says short-term yes, but long-term no. The average tenure in a position is under 2 years for Millennials and rapidly shrinking. It has a bit to do with short-attention span, but mostly because of lack of purpose and challenge.

A job can fulfill that, but ultimately a combination of lifestyle and utilizing strengths is what matters. Let me explain.

People don’t work just to make money anymore. They want a job to provide their desired lifestyle. I’ve worked with plenty of clients who hate their job, but won’t leave because it supports the lifestyle they want to live. There’s also many people who stay at a low paying job because it allows them to pursue their passions on the side or make an impact at work.

Now moving on to strengths. If passion + strengths + experience = purpose, then strengths is the most important aspect. Passion and experience combined is the American Idol candidate who can’t sing. You have God-given talent, but it’s others who validate your strengths. The prime example are professional athletes. Paid extremely well to do one thing.

You might be saying, “But what if I’m not a professional athlete?” Well neither am I and here’s my answer: You may not get paid to play sports, but there’s 1 – 2 things you do really well. Find those things and do them over and over.

According to Malcolm Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become successful at one thing (approximately 10 years if you’re wondering). That means there are no overnight success stories. Here’s my overall point:

Goals are like checking off a to-do list. Habits create the lifestyle you want. If you want to have a successful career you better figure out what tasks you should be doing on a daily basis, regardless of your job. I tell my clients after the initial session, finding your next career move will be easy…but understanding your strengths, knowing where you best “fit” and building confidence is what I really want to see flourish.

So stop worrying about setting and accomplishing goals. Instead identify the successful habits that will fulfill your desired lifestyle and do that, daily.