New Year Resolutions

Dec 21st, 2010 | By | Category: abundance, Career advice, challenges, new year, new year resolution, strategy, stress, success, tactics

Making New Year Resolutions is a tradition for most of us. It is sure the hot    media topic for the swing week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. While the  mood of Christmas puts most of us in a festive mood, it also causes most of us to  be reflective on personal and professional status, and presents an opportunity for    a fresh start for the coming year. However this may not be the best time to set  make resolutions and set goals.

Stephen Shapiro posted some interesting statics regarding New Year Resolutions  (24/7 Innovation) Stephen did some research with Opinion Corporation of Princeton, NJ and found:
• 45% of Americans usually set New Year’s Resolutions; 17% infrequently set resolutions; 38% absolutely never set resolutions.
• Only 8% of people are always successful in achieving their resolutions. 19% achieve their resolutions every other year. 49% have infrequent success. 24% (one in four people) NEVER succeed and have failed on every resolution every year. That means that 3 out of 4 people almost never succeed.
• Of those who do set resolutions (these add to more than 100% because some people set multiple resolutions):
o 34% set resolutions related to money
o 38% set resolutions related to weight
o 47% set resolutions related to self-improvement or education
o 31% set resolutions related to relationships
• It appears that the younger you are, the more likely you are to achieve your resolutions
o 39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
o Less than 15% of those over 50 achieve their resolutions every year or every other year
• The less happy you are, the more likely you are to set New Year’s Resolutions. This is especially true for those who set money-related resolutions: 41% are not happy, 34% are moderately happy, and 25% are happy.
• And here’s the punchline – There is no correlation between happiness and resolution setting/success. People who achieve their resolutions every year are NO happier than those who do not set resolutions or who are unsuccessful in achieving them.

Of course numbers only represent averages and do not reflect on YOUR personal situation. However, there are a few questions you may want to ponder as we inch closer towards December 31, 2008.
• What kind of New Year’s Resolutions do you typically set (money, health, self-improvement, or relationship-oriented)?
• Why do you set these particular resolutions?
• What do you hope to gain by achieving these resolutions?
• What will you do to be more successful (than the typical person)?
• Do you believe you will be happier on December 31, 2009 if you are successful in achieving your resolutions? If so, be aware that this is rarely the case – your attitude is more important than the results.
• And finally, what could you do to improve your level of happiness TODAY, rather than believing your happiness lies in the future?

Stephen concludes that it may be better to focus on something new rather than trying to rectify old habits and situations, which ties in with the clean slate theory of a new year.

Since I never did well at keeping New Year Resolutions, I fit right into Stephens statics. Perhaps it is because Christmas is an emotional time. While there is magic in the air, there is also a sense of despair. It seems no matter how much we try to buy into the Norman Rockwell Christmas; few of us actually achieve those life-changing miracles as in the Christmas classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Instead most of us wake up the day after Christmas in the same situation as when we went to sleep on December 23, same job, same problems, plus a touch of guilt that our Christmas spirit vanished so quickly. Not the best frame of mind to set priorities for the coming year. Maybe that is why so many of the classic New Year Resolutions are focused on our faults rather than on our futures. Looking at Stephen’s list of most common resolutions of money, weight loss, self-improvement and relationships it seems evident that we must be in a negative frame of mind. While it is important to look at ourselves realistically, it is not good to dwell on the negatives. Perhaps this is why so many of us fail to keep our New Year Resolutions.

After Christmas is also a time of hard comparisons. I can remember as a child being so happy on Christmas morning with the gifts I received. Then a couple days, after the traditional visits to relatives and friends, I was feeling more than a little down after seeing how much more some of the kids got. I was always thankful for what I received, but it did not stop those pangs of envy. It took me some time to learn that even those who may have received more and bigger gifts felt the same way, and some of those who brag the most about their Christmas enjoyed it the least. The office setting is not much different from when I was young. There is always a parade of new clothes, jewelry, pictures from the cruise, and the list goes on. The one thing that always seem to be the most upsetting to the majority of employees was comparing bonuses, not the best way to end the year.

The book the Secret ushered in a new wave of positive thinking gurus who promise magical results by adjusting your frame of mind. I am not so sure of the magical results, but his is really nothing new. The idea of how we think about things conditioning our experiences and reality dates back to ancient times. Perhaps the Greek Philosophers were the first to codify the idea, but it is evident back to the beginning of human nature. So there must be an element of truth in the theory that a positive attitude is better foundation for setting goals and resolutions. So take some time before Christmas to develop your New Year Resolutions and goals, and put a positive spin on them.

Good Luck
The PracticaL Mentor.

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