Most people who make a New Years Resolution, fail before the end of January. I’d guess at least half of those people fail because they don’t even begin to take action — they just talk about it… like they have all year. So what is it about a change in the number on the calendar that convinces us we’ll be more successful than we have been every other day of the year?
I have a theory about resolution failures, and it ties into the same false promises we make time and again.
→ I’m going to start my new diet on Monday;
→ I’ll quit smoking after my birthday; and
→ I’ll get better at managing my finances after tax time.
Notice how all of these things — like making a New Years Resolution — involve ‘current self’ making a promise that ‘future self’ will have to keep? In other words, there’s no immediate commitment. And because there’s no immediate commitment, there’s a truck-tonne of time to come up with all the excuses in the world as to why you can’t take action (not that you need all of them, just one is enough to derail your goal).
For that reason, I’m not one for making New Years Resolutions.
In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever made a resolution at New Years where I was committed enough to take action to implement it. Now, that’s not to say I’m not good with commitment, I just don’t think we need to wait until a new year rolls around to set some goals for the year.
Despite my disinterest in resolutions, this year I’ve decided to put one into place. Just one.
I believe it’s the only resolution I need to succeed, and I think it could help you out a lot too. Before I share my resolution with you, let’s talk about why I’ve decided 2020 is the year to make one.
I failed a lot in 2019.
Since I was 19, I’ve had an inner monologue incessantly whispering, and at times screaming, I was a complete failure. I’m now 33 and it’s only in the last 12-months I’ve accepted that failing to achieve goals does not make you a failure. Instead, I’ve come to realise that getting back up and trying again after those failures causes you to exude resilience. In 2019, I realised I am an extremely resilient person. Which is why, when I talk you through my failures in 2019, I no longer feel like a failure. I simply see these failures as goals I’d like to prioritise in 2020.
In 2019, I failed to:
- Write consistently (I had a goal to write half a million words in 2019. I have no idea if I even came close because, by mid-Februrary, I’d stopped tracking);
- Exercise consistently (I started 2019 well, as I was working as a cycle courier. But once I relocated to Australia, I stopped training. I used plenty of excuses — the gym is too far away, I don’t have a membership, I don’t have time — to allow myself to neglect training); and
- Eat healthy, nutritious food consistently (again, 2019 began well. But a move to Australia followed by a 4-month stint living with my parents led to a shakeup of our meal planning routines).
- gained weight, felt an increase in my chronic pain and had ongoing digestive issues due to food intolerances (leaving me feeling unhealthy, lethargic, slow and weak); and
- failed to increase my email list, Medium subscribers and website traffic as much as I would have liked (leaving my business keeping its head just above water rather than growing steadily as planned).
Not the results I was looking for.
2019 wasn’t all bad.
I achieved some significant, no, life-changing success in 2019. So much so, I’m now referring to 2019 as the year of transition in my life. In 2019, I:
- Moved to the other side of the world (in April, packed up my entire life and, with my partner, we moved from the UK to Australia for good);
- Began a Master’s degree (I completed the first semester of my Master of Communications in 2019 with a high-distinction average); and
- Bought a house with my fiance (Despite having to fight for months to get a home loan, we eventually got the cash — Oh yeah, and I proposed to her too (she said yes)).
Because of this success, I was able to:
- Become confident I will receive my Masters in mid-2021;
- Significantly improve my career opportunities;
- Set up our house and finally settle down after 4 years of moving around;
- Get two new puppies and bring our family of 6 furbabies together; and
- Take the next step in my relationship with the love of my life.
The difference between the failure and success I experienced in 2019.
There’s one thing that made my business and my fitness successful in 2019, while in my Master’s degree and my personal life I experienced immense success.
Consistency of effort.
In 2019, I prioritised the things on the ‘success’ list, both through choice and having external deadlines. When I was preparing for my move from the UK to Australia, I showed up every day and packed our gear. When completing my Master’s degree, I showed up to every lecture and submitted every assessment on time. Despite being refused a mortgage twice, I showed up day in, day out and worked with our broker to get the loan we needed to buy our house.
In health, fitness and business, I did not. And I suffered the consequences.
My 2020 New Years Resolution.
Now the year of transition has ended, I’m moving into 2020 with just one resolution.
Show up every day for the goals that matter to me.
- My relationship (scheduling quality time with my fiance where I refuse to allow work — which is my particular downfall — to get in the way).
- My furbabies (amending my morning routine so they get the first hour of my day and scheduling training time with them every evening).
- My health (scheduling my appointments, such as physiotherapy and exercise physiology, first, then fitting in everything else around these).
- My fitness (scheduling training — mostly swimming — first, and not allowing my workload to encroach on my training time).
- My business (writing 5 days per week, publishing 5 days per week and refocusing on my high-ROI tasks).
I’m confident that, in 2020, this single resolution will bring me all the success I desire.
How to identify your ideal resolution for 2020.
As I’ve done above, take some time to identify your successes and failures in 2019 and analyse them so you can understand why you achieved your goals in some areas and not in others.
When you discover the key, make that your resolution for 2020. I guarantee it’ll be the best New Years resolution you’ve ever made.
Are you a freelancer who’s fed up with working twice as many hours as you used to, for a quarter of the cash, and a truck-tonne of responsibility to go with it?