How's your New Year's Resolution coming along?
4 short weeks ago, we tooted horns and kissed at midnight welcoming 2012 as a fresh start and clean slate. Did you make a resolution? The topic seemed unavoidable-- magazine covers in the checkout line, online links forwarded by friends, and newspaper clippings all sharing articles about how to make and keep your resolution. So, how's it going? Do you even remember what the resolution was at this point? Don't worry. You are not alone. According to a report by FranklinCovey, 77% of people surveyed do not successfully keep their resolutions.
Don't be so hard on yourself. Let's face it. January 1 is not my ideal time to be making big changes. I'm coming off a holiday sugar coma that affects my rational thinking. The short days and frigid temperatures are more conducive to hibernating than productivity. Knowing my self discipline was lacking, the only New Year's Resolution I could muster was to stop buying sweaters with 3/4 length sleeves. Really, if it is cold enough to wear a sweater, wouldn't I want my wrists to be warm?
Besides January being problematic, I don't like New Year's Resolutions because a year is just too gosh darn long for me to commit to anything! I've got this brand new calendar with 366 (it's a leap year) days looming and that seems like an awfully long time. In school the kids learn how to make SMART goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Rather than a large year-long goal, I would rather set a small goal and give myself a month to work on it. After all, current research reports that it takes 66 days to form a habit. So if you can do something for 66 days, your brain's neurons will actually change their firing patterns. Pretty cool, huh? And we don't need a whole year to make it happen.
Another reason I like to make new month's resolutions is that I'm human. I set goals and then obstacles arise. I have the best of intentions and then mistakes happen. Reevaluating my progress and my goals monthly gives me 12 opportunities to start fresh and start over. I'm feeling positive about my February goals. But if I mess up, I'm not worried--another opportunity will come along soon. In a just few short weeks March is the new January.