We’re a few weeks into the New Year; a mere matter of days (likely even more by the time you read this) that you’ve had to work on your New Year’s Resolutions. How’s that going?
Really, there’s no need to sugar coat here. Some of us surely committed to cutting out the sweets when the clock struck midnight on December 31st.
So, if your answer isn’t, “I’m nailing my goals!” then you’re in good company.
A quick search of the internet pulls up countless articles sharing stats highlighting the high failure rate of New Year’s Resolutions in month one. There’s even a day in January dedicated to ditching your resolutions.
There are a lot of reasons why New Year’s resolutions fail. Sometimes our goals are not specific enough or we don’t identify ways to measure our progress. Other times we push ourselves out of the gate in a full-sprint on January 1st, forgetting that goal setting is a marathon and successfully crossing the finish-line means pacing ourselves.
Arguably, for the majority of us, we’re simply too focused on the “what” and perhaps forgetting our “why”.
Personally, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions at all. Why? Because more times than not, I find that annual resolutions lack purpose. That’s my opinion, of course. I struggle with the expectation to generate a goal simply to generate a goal come January one, amiright?
Look, if there’s something you really want to accomplish or even change in your life, does it really need to be anchored to a strict annual calendar expectation? Or, perhaps it could be even more effective to establish a ‘go-time’ that is aligned with your own personal readiness.
And this leads me to my core point: If you’re focused on a goal, make sure you don’t overlook your “why”; why is this goal important to you? Many of the traditional resolutions we make, which can sometimes include losing weight, exercising more, tackling debt, budgeting better etc., lose traction because the individual making the resolution hasn’t dug into the reason they are making this resolution in the first place.
So, while there’s nothing wrong with those intentions listed above, if you don’t connect them to your life in a meaningful way, they probably won’t stick. Goals – and the why behind them – need to be authentic.
Finding Your Why
If your resolution is to focus on your finances, kudos – but you better prepare to dig a little deeper.
Specifically, after some soul searching, you discover that you really want to focus on creating better savings habits. That is a great goal, but now take a step further to define your why? Most people know saving is important, that’s why it’s a common resolution, but understanding why it matters to you specifically will increase the stickiness. What would more savings do for you?
Then go a step further in your goal planning and imagine strengthening your why behind saving money. Savings may be the means to a new car. Or, if you want to make this inherently meaningful, you goal could be to build a healthy savings base simply to allot you more flexibility and financial freedom in your future. Having these savings set aside may open up choices in life that you may not otherwise be able to make. Knowing you have that savings breadbasket might allow you to jump on opportunities as they arise, take more calculated risks, or try your hand at something new. Without money saved up, people tend to have less flexibility and often end up feeling stuck.
So, none of this is to discourage you from chasing your New Year’s resolutions if you’ve made them. Instead, this is to encourage you to lean in and explore your authentic why behind those intentional goals or resolutions. And for all of you out there who didn’t set resolutions, who have already deemed this year a write off because January one has come and gone without a commitment, I call applesauce! You should feel confident to start that goal when you’re personally ready to start it, whether it be January first or November twentieth – authentic resolutions work on your schedule and your schedule alone and now may be a great time to start.