It is starting to happen, the question, "Do you have a New Year's Resolution?" Whether it is just small talk or curiosity, it is a question you can expect to get at least once this time of year. But before you blow off the idea of a New Year's Resolution, let's discuss why and how you should do it.
Maybe you have heard these statistics before, but only 3% of people set goals, yet setting goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve goals. So, if you want something different for yourself in the new year, just knowing the math proves setting goals is a good idea.
So, why do you hesitate to do it? Could it be the fear of failure? Having to admit that you have already failed by mid-January, breaking your New Year's Resolution is demoralizing.
Failure, or admitting to ourselves that something might be impossible, can be scary. Even worse, when we attach the goal to our identity, if we fail, then we, too, become a failure. It's essential to remember that the outcomes do not define our worth.
So this year, I challenge you to commit to a different kind of goal – one you can work on all year, feeling the progress through awareness, not milestones.
First, consider where you want to experience change: at work, at home, or in a relationship.
Then apply this question to your challenge:
What is one positive behavior that would have an impact on ____________________ (insert career, relationship, promotion, team, balance – the situation you want to improve).
Before you get started, remember that behaviors refer to observable actions. Ensure the behavior you are choosing is positive and actionable. Stay away from vague statements such as "practicing active listening," "asking open-ended questions," or "expressing gratitude more often."
Use these as examples to determine the behavior:
After selecting your behavior, write it down along with a short list of ways that this behavior will impact you and others:
Often, you will find that the one thing you select will help you in more than one area of your life. More importantly, you will find that this behavior will change more than the shortlist you initially came up with - so keep this paper somewhere accessible to track the other things that are changing for you as this behavior becomes a habit.
This type of resolution is not a make-or-break - no win or lose; it takes time and awareness. You build the behavior into your day – and if you miss a day – you miss a day. By detaching our self-worth from outcomes, we open ourselves to learning, adapting, and a more profound sense of fulfillment. The focus will help you build resilience and stay focused on your long-term goals.
Knowing that our identity remains intact regardless of the immediate results is a skill that can be challenging to develop, requiring us to believe in our inner strength, worth, and journey of self-discovery.
As we move into 2024, what new behavior, if it became a habit, will be the difference for you in 2024?