Banishing resolutions, setting goals

So, how goes those New Year resolutions?

At the dawn of a new year, while many are making their annual resolutions, I’m thinking about how much I dislike the whole concept of resolutions.

It seems like most resolutions are designed to set people up to fail. Folks make lofty goals that are way beyond achievable. In many cases, those annual resolutions can lead to stress, anxiety and eventually, giving up.

A 2007 study of 3,000 people showed that 88 percent of those making resolutions did not complete those intentions, even though more than 50 percent expressed confidence in their resolutions at the start. The study also showed men achieved their goals 22 percent more often when they actually set some goals where the outcomes could be measured. Women succeeded 10 percent more of the time when they made their resolutions and goals known to family and friends.

I understand the concept of resolutions – committing to change oneself or one’s situation for the better. I think that’s admirable aspiration and I like to think that I do the same thing each January. I think we should come up with a new name for these annual goals and maybe some rules.

The website Bulletproof Executive says there are a few reasons resolutions fail:

– Vague goals

– Too many goals

– Lack of social support

– Guilt or shame

I think that the goal “get healthy” is probably too ambiguous. The website recommends using smaller, bite-sized resolutions to achieve the ultimate goal. Perhaps “get healthier” can be achieved more easily by eating fruits and vegetables at each meal, by taking a walk every day, by getting plenty of sleep or by cutting out artificial sweetners.

Or if spending more time with the family is the ultimate goal, perhaps establishing a family game night once a week or taking a bike ride with your child on Saturday afternoon would be a way to start.

If you want to declutter your home, maybe start with just one room or a closet or a corner. Small steps are what will take to one to the bigger goal.

Decluttering happens to be one of my greatest desires – paring down and simplifying things at home. We started doing this earlier this month. Anything that hasn’t been used for a year or more, and things with no sentimental value are headed out the door – either for sale or to a charity. We’ve gotten three rooms done now by taking a little at a time. It makes you feel good when you get measurable results from the goals that you set.

And, an added benefit is that we are spending more time together as a family. Yet another goal reached.