I rarely make New Year’s Resolutions. I find big goals intimidating and demoralizing and prefer to focus on small victories. Shedding a few pounds is statistically one of the most common resolutions that people make (ten pounds to be precise). No surprise there. Every one indulges over Christmas and gains a few unwanted pounds they want to loose again in January. Other popular ones are to eat healthier, stop smoking, reduce alcohol consumption, find a new job, make more money, pay of debt, waste less money, spend more time with friends and family, be more charitable and live less frantically.
These goals summarize the human condition. To be a well-loved, respected, healthy, wealthy, active, happy and generous person is an admirable aspiration. We all want more good things and less bad habits in our lives. Trying to wish for it all on the last/first night of the year is a practice doomed to failure, but at least our intentions are well-placed.
If I had to have a New Year’s resolution (other than the resolution never to have a New Year’s resolution), it would be something mundane or maybe a little ethereal. Living in the moment, maybe. I am not keen on the philosophical implications of ‘living in the moment’ as invariably, life is a cumulative experience and I’m a great believer in planning ahead, but the idea certainly appeals. Long-term goals are met through a series of short term goals and unless the short-term goals are well defined, it’s almost impossible to successfully achieve any long-term goal.
Psychology agrees with me. The most common advice given for the most common New Year’s resolution (i.e. weight loss) is to be specific and aim lower. Women are particularly drawn to the big and inspirational and are also twice as likely to fail in achieving their New Year’s Resolution. Pick an easily achievable short-term goal this year rather than a long list of ideals if success is important. Me? I’ll stick with the ethereal, inspirational thoughts of general self edification.