What will your Fairy Godmother be turning you into at midnight? New Year’s Eve is like a reverse Cinderella Story. Instead of the magic ending at the stroke of midnight, it’s when it begins, or at least that’s the farce we sell ourselves when making resolutions. Suddenly at midnight on New Year’s Eve, a mom who is exhausted from her day-to-day commitments and obligations is going to be granted a myriad amount of energy to hit the gym after work daily. And that busy dad that’s been meaning to finish that project will suddenly be granted more time. And that young girl trying desperately to curb her sugar intake is going to suddenly crave broccoli. These resolutions are as practical as a Fairy Godmother waving a wand. We are not going to suddenly become new people at the stroke of midnight and be granted the energy, time, and willpower we’ve always longed for. The biggest indicator of future behavior is past behavior. If we want to change our behavior we must change our habits. In order to change our habits we must stop making excuses for ourselves. And that starts by evaluating where we are right now.
Let’s take the mom who wants to hit the gym daily after work. First and foremost lets at least try and make our resolutions, our new behaviors, practical. Is it practical to hit the gym daily? No. You can’t go from being an amateur straight to a professional in anything and this includes forming new habits. Thus, let’s have her shoot for going to the gym 3 times a week and then build from that point. Once a realistic pursuit has been established it’s time to break down the rudiments for adequately establishing this new behavior or habit. What are the current constraints that keep her from hitting the gym? Let’s say her typical day is; getting up early, getting herself and her children ready, and then dropped off at school, she heads to work, and after work, she picks everyone up, heads home, does a bit of housework, makes dinner, helps kids with homework, and preps for the next day before getting kids ready for bed. After analyzing her current routine and schedule it seems like there are a few options. Could her spouse pick up the slack three days a week after work so that her health can become more of a priority? If that’s not an option, she could delegate certain chores to the children, have crock-pot meals three days a week, and make herself a priority by hitting the gym. Where there’s a will there’s a way. It won’t be easy and chances are that mom will be tired those first couple weeks she hits the gym. And chances are at one point she might be wishing she did have that magic wand to give her the willpower, perseverance, and energy. But anything worth having always takes a lot of work. Where the excuses finally end solutions can be found.
It should be noted that I’m not against resolutions, in fact, I think they are magnificent when approached from a practical pursuit. This New Year it’s time to “Boss up and change your life” just don’t wish things to be, this isn’t a Fairytale and there is no Fairy Godmother. Take control of your future, stop making excuses, advocate for yourself, delegate menial tasks to the other human beings contributing to the mess, make your new habit a priority, make yourself a priority, and watch as a new behavior evolves. Remember what’s the best predictor of future behavior? Past behavior. Let’s leave the past in the past and unwrap the present.
What are your thoughts on resolutions?