Are Resolutions Stupid? (4 min read)

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Are Resolutions Stupid? (4 min read)

The holidays are in the past and the new year has arrived. Now, it's resolution season, right?

Or is it? Over the last few years, I've seen a lot of people on social media setting resolutions. I've also seen a lot of people online posting about how "stupid" resolutions are. So who's right? Are they both correct? Are they both wrong?

I'm not sure who is the rightful judge of this question. But I'm going to give you my perspective on it after more than a decade of coaching countless clients successfully.

Let's start with the primary argument against setting new years resolutions.

"It's just another day. You can set a goal at any time. Every day is a fresh start. Don't wait until the new year. Just start."

I may be oversimplifying, but that seems to be the gist of it. Let me start by saying I agree with almost everything there... in theory. 

In theory, that all makes perfect sense. But I can tell you, having coached hundreds, if not thousands of people, that theoretical strategies tend to fail spectacularly. So let's break this down.

"It's just another day. You can set a goal at any time." Yep, so is Christmas and your birthday. 

Let's map this logic on to your birthday.

"You can celebrate your birth any day.  Don't wait until your birthday to be happy that you were born. You should wake up every day, thankful to be alive!"

Well, yeah. You should. But would that mean that celebrating on your birthday was silly? Not really. 

Our daily lives tend to drown out the things that are important and replace them with urgent stuff. We need markers (dates or otherwise) of importance in our lives. They keep us in touch with what matters to us. Without them, it's too easy to forget. 

That's in large part what makes the holidays so special. It's a time that triggers focus on the things that matter. The holidays provide an opportunity to slow down and reflect. For most of us, we take more time off work than at any other time of year. We take more pictures than any other time of year. We contemplate the last 12 months, and we think about the next 12 months. We compartmentalize time. 

Then, seemingly out of nowhere, a new year arrives and gives us a sense of new opportunity — a fresh start. And if you use that, it can be powerful.

For many of us, that combination of time off, reflection, and a new year create a sense of renewed motivation to work on areas we've been avoiding. And while you may have heard me say in the past that motivation is an unreliable strategy (which it is), it's a VERY useful tool to help you get going if you're feeling motivated right now.

In all my years of coaching, the biggest challenge I've seen people deal with is getting freakin' started, and a resolution that excites you has the power to get you going. I'm for ANYTHING that helps you to stop waiting and start doing. Right now.

Whether it's your weight, your budget, your professional goals, or writing a book, the best time to start is ALWAYS right now. You can't get time back. The primary challenge to almost any goal is getting started. That's were motivation becomes useful; it's our best emotional tool for the beginning of a goal. 

I'm a fan of resolutions, any resolution really, for that one big reason. It can get you started. So start. Right now.

In summary, if the new year feels like a fresh start, if you have ideas on what you'd like to accomplish in the coming year, specify them and get started. Call it what you want, but that's what a resolution is to me as a coach.

You must use whatever motivation finds you.

If you hear the haters saying, "Resolutions are stupid, you can set goals any time." 

Remember, that's exactly what you're doing. 


So, what do you think about resolutions? Are you for them or against them? Have you set a resolution of your own? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!



Justin Lewis CPT, CES, PES

Owner and Co-Founder

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