I have never found a need for New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions have always seemed foolish to me for several reasons. There are 365 days in every year, and I think people should be making the best choices they can on each one of those days.
If you haven’t made any New Year’s Resolutions for 2017, I certainly hope that you haven’t decided to wait and try again on January 1, 2018. And if one of your resolutions is to start using your membership at Planet Fitness, I certainly hope that on January 7, 2017, you aren’t thinking about postponing again until 2018.
If you are open to some new ideas, here are 4 that might help you make better decisions in 2017.
1. You have friends for a reason, use them.
Having trouble with your New Year’s Resolution to exercise? I remember when I ignored the importance of exercise. Do you know why I made a change? Incredibly, back pain wasn’t enough motivation for me. The first time I went to the gym, it was simply because my wife invited me to go work out with her.
The secret to being consistent at the gym is to work out with a friend. Your friend creates an expectation. It is more fun to work out with someone else. You don’t want to let them down. On days that I was too tired to go to the gym, my wife would get me out of bed and we would go together. On days that she was too tired, I would make her oatmeal and get her going. She ended up changing my lifestyle completely. I haven’t even thought about back pain for years.
Friends are good for more than just exercise. No matter what your goals may be for 2017, a friend can help you get started and persevere.
2. Learn something from someone else.
What is the last thing you tried and failed? What went wrong? If I had to guess, I would say that you really didn’t have the knowledge or experience to do it right. Maybe I just say that because I am a lawyer. When people come to see me with a business problem, I tell people how the solve the problem. I get paid, because I have real answers.
I have a pet peeve around psychology. I roll my eyes whenever I hear someone say, “Everyone has all the answers they need. Therapists just listen and help people discover the answer inside of themselves.” Hmmm. Why don’t schools operate that way? Think of all the money we could save on teachers, if we just let kids come up with their own answers for science, history, math and everything else. I know you aren’t seriously considering the idea for our schools. So why is it that you are still trying to figure out your own answers for the problems you have been unable to solve?
Take your eating, as an example. Are you still operating on the concept of the food pyramid? If so, you must have missed the last 20 years of both research and anecdote around nutrition. If you want to feel better in 2017, try talking to a personal trainer about what you should be eating. Ask them what athletes are eating, today. Until you try doing something in a way that actually works, you won’t know what you are missing.
3. You don’t have to be religious to follow rituals.
How many things do you do without thinking? Would you ever go to bed without putting on your pajamas? When was the last time you had to think about that one? Everything you do automatically, is easy to maintain.
Everything you find difficult to maintain, you’re still thinking about. You are asking yourself, “Do I really want to do this again, today? Should I do it now, or can I do it later?” Those are tough decisions.
Once you have made a good decision about something, stick with it. Decide not to rethink it. If it is something you plan to do daily or weekly, when the time comes, just tell yourself that you have already made the decision to do it. Make it a ritual. Just do it, without thinking, like putting on your pajamas.
There is something about rituals -- the rewards come automatically. They accumulate. Before you know it, you are a different person. If you want more information on the subject, read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen.
4. Be honest for a change.
Of course, if you are already being honest about everything, you can skip this one -- or maybe you better not. Most people consider themselves to be honest. It feels better. As a lawyer and a business owner, I see some intentional dishonesty; but I see more situations in which people honestly just don’t see the world the way it really is.
If you really want to make better decisions, and be more successful, I suggest that you improve the accuracy with which you are explaining your problems -- either to yourself or to others.
If you are in business, and you aren’t using a bookkeeper or an accountant, get one in 2017. Start keeping track of your numbers. Create some reports. You’ll be surprised how much better your decision making becomes.
Resolutions are about changing for the better. Once a year, we have this little ritual called New Year’s Resolutions. Every 365 days, society reminds us to think about changing for the better. In 2017, instead of doing it on your own, try the community at SLCircle. I honestly think, you will find the support you need to make better decisions in 2017.