2012 is quickly approaching and many of us will start thinking of resolutions for the New Year. It can actually feel uplifting to begin a new plan such as joining a gym to get fit, writing one page a day for the next Great American novel, or more prosaically, keeping up with your inbox).
But, as most of us know, the novelty wears off as we get bored and discouraged. We’re suddenly confronted with the day to day challenge of sustaining our goals. Unexpected events throw us off course. We need to stay late at work, we can’t leave our smart phone or a relative gets sick. Disappointingly, one day of missing the goal then leads to missing the next and next day, until we feel defeated and our goal is abandoned. 5 New Years Resolutions That You Aren't Making
In this article, I’m going to start at the phase where resolutions begin to unravel. Most articles about New Year’s resolutions talk about setting practical goals and getting started, I’m going to jump ahead and anticipate your first failure. Just as important as setting realistic and important goals is having a plan for how to keep going despite the inevitable setbacks you will encounter.
Helen has been very excited about her New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, be kinder to her husband, and implement a reward chart for with her 5 year old son. She’s discovering the dance class at the gym is lots of fun and she has even lost a few pounds. Her son loves the stickers he gets for keeping his room tidy. She’s also been enjoying her alone time with her husband more since she’s made an effort to be less critical and more supportive.
Then, in mid-January there’s ice on the windshield and she has to shovel out her driveway. She cannot find the stickers and leaves home without following through on the program she planned with her son. Helen arrives late for the gym to find the parking lot is full. After circuling for fifteen minutes, she leaves feeling very annoyed. She gets to work and feels awkward that she still has her gym clothes on and she has to explain the situation.
Starving and frustrated, Helen furtively grabs a chocolate-covered donut from the break room. Helen’s husband calls during work to say hi and she snaps at him for something random, as he’s meanwhile harboring resentment that he didn’t help clear the car of ice.
We all have such days. No one succeeds in accomplishing his or her goals without facing some unexpected setbacks. What, then, differentiates those who can pick themselves up and keep going from those who become just give up?