By: Chad McCoy, M.A., LPC
Christmas has come and gone. The relatives dispersed, the kids satiated with gifts, and the credit card bills have not yet arrived. What’s next? New
Year’s Resolutions of course! Before you put pen to paper to craft yours, I have a few thoughts to consider.
According to Statistic Brain (www.statisticbrain.com), about eight percent (8%) of resolutions made each year by individuals are successful. Forty-nine percent (49%) have little or infrequent success, and twenty-four percent (24%) never succeed. This quick glance fits in alignment with what we could expect in many things observed. This is commonly referred to as the Normal Curve. Statistically, most individuals are going to fall within the largest part of that bell curve as opposed to being at either skinny end; what we call an outlier. Outliers, or in this case, the 8% of those successful with their resolutions are at the extreme of the spectrum. For example, if you’re a 31-year old man and 7’ 9” tall, you’re unique. Conversely, when you’re 3’9”, you’re also unique when compared to an average peer’s height. So what makes the 8% so different?
Initially, I believe they develop more attainable goals. How many times have you made a resolution that is the “ideal form of self” that you’d like to be? Instead of setting very ridged, absolute goals for yourself, maybe you should entertain some more fluid perspectives. Maybe you want to look and feel better this year. You can do this in many ways, not just physically. Sure, that route is maybe what we would jump to initially. But you can look better to your peers through deeds of good work or volunteering, or you could invest in some trendy and chic clothing. Endeavor to expand your resume or vitae with new skills. Maybe being healthier is a simple change in your diet as opposed to picking up a new style of eating all together. ( I’m looking at you Paleo crowd.) The point is that, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat,” and maybe changing your purview can open possibilities.
The second thought I had about those 8-percenters was that they undoubtedly have some sort of plan to be successful. A good, wise friend of mine once said that goals without plans are merely wishes. Simply making a statement about change does nothing toward actually changing it. Sadly, simply signing up for a gym membership without plans on how and when you will go there doesn’t do much for you. That reminds me: I need to cancel some gym memberships. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that change without plans usually only occurs in crisis situations. The turning of the calendar and changing the numbers does not constitute much of a crisis.
Now, I understand that resolutions are made in the best interest of those that are making them. I also believe these individuals have the best intentions of carrying them out. However, we are human. Furthermore, we really aren’t the best people when it comes to predicting even our own behaviors. The best way that I know we can help ourselves is by making slow, methodical progress toward our ultimate goal. Don’t set out to build the Ark in one day. My hope for you is that by the time 2017 comes, and yes it will come, you’ve given some deep thought to what resolutions you’d like to make in your life, and you’ve given it a workable plan. If you need some help making out that workable plan, give me a call and we can spend some time getting you on your path to better. Happy New Year!
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