Why Resolutions Suck & What You Should Do Instead

Welcome to Format Free Fridays, the one day a week when I break the format of answering your questions and I dispense that which we rarely welcome in life: Unsolicited Advice.

New Year’s Resolutions. How many of them have you made? How many have you achieved? If you’re 30 years old, you’ve likely made no less than 10 and have accomplished less than 2.  Not good odds.  If you’ve ever wondered why New Years Resolutions are so fucking difficult to achieve, this post’s for you.

People who engage in resolutions tend to be fresh starters. They are people who like to start projects or goals at the beginning of a month, at the beginning of a season, or at the beginning of a year. They were the students who couldn’t wait for the new semester so that they could re-commit to their academic studies with a fresh start. These people are great sprinters. The come out of the gate filled with motivation, hope and the best of intentions. And because these people lack strategy and rely soley on willpower (something they tend to have to a lesser degree than people who regularly reach their goals), they fail.  And the reason they fail is because willpower isn’t just a man-made concept intended to separate the strong from the weak – it’s a real type of energy, measured by glucose in the bloodstream. And most of us lack it.

Chin up, loyal follower. You didn’t think I’d write a post telling you why your hopes and dreams aren’t attainable, did you? The key to successfully achieving our goals is to change up our strategy. This year, commit to doing something different. Changing your strategy significantly improves the likelihood that you’ll get a different result.  So what do you say? Forget the New Year’s Resolution and try something new. Let me introduce to you the vision board.

A vision board is a piece of paper on which you place pictures and words that describe your goal. It’s essentially a visual representation or collage of something that you want to have, want to be, or want to do in your life. The process of making the vision board, along with the visualization of your goal that constructing it requires, increases the likelihood that you’ll actually achieve your goal. I won’t bore you in this post with the neuroscience behind the power of visualization, but it’s a well-documented fact that we get what we focus on in life. The brain is like a compass. It moves in the direction we point it, whether it’s something we want or something we want to avoid. So focus on what you want. Change your strategy, make yourself a vision board in lieu of the likely-to-fail New Year’s Resolution and make 2013 everything you want it to be.