Resolutions Don’t Work (but Sustainable Actions Do)

I don’t really make “New Year Resolutions” any more. Sure, I have things I want to accomplish in 2011 but I’ll do so in a different way. I think resolutions are like intentions…they’re often good but fairly worthless unless they are accompanied by sustainable actions.

You’d probably agree that actions are critical if you want to see something materialize, but it’s not just any action that will do. Most of us take some sort of action after setting a resolution anyway, don’t we? Well, at least we do at first.

I mean, those of us who resolve to get physically fit might hit the gym hard for the first few weeks in January but by March where are we? Probably not at the gym any more.

See, the problem with resolutions is that most of us bite off way more than we can chew and have no sustainable plan to keep it going. We don’t account for life, setbacks and the resistance that we’ll encounter along the way. So when we do, it’s easy to bail and drift back into the comfortable reality that we once knew versus the new reality we were trying to create.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When we set goals or resolutions or whatever you want to call them, we need to combine them with sustainable actions. Actions that we can take in smaller chunks to accomplish the bigger goal. Instead of trying to do it all at once, we break it up and tackle it in bites that are more realistic with our lives and what it is we’re trying to do.

Consider a race for example.

It’s one thing to say you want to run it but something entirely different to actually cross the finish line. But, if you’re out of shape you can’t just jump on the track and start out in a sprint or else you’ll collapse before you make it around the first turn. Instead, you need to have a plan that includes sustainable action steps to help you get from where you are to where you want to go in a way that sets you up for success.

You need to condition yourself and understand you can’t go from couch potato to marathon man in 30 days or less (despite what the informercials tell you). You can’t microwave it or overnight success it, that’s a myth anyways.

You have to start small and work your way up but do so with milestones and goals and things that help you see your progress… because there’s no better motivator to sustainability than seeing progress being made.

Most of all, remember that you can do it.

It doesn’t need to be over complicated. You just need to identify your big goal and what smaller actions can you do, that you can sustain, to help you move closer and closer each day.

Small steps add up to big results.

What about you? How do you deal with resolutions?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I absolutely agree with the premise- everything has a price, whether time, money or emotional cost. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and the generosity behind the giveaway!