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This is about the time of year (end of February, beginning of March) when you realize that your New Year’s resolution/s aren’t going to happen, or you’ve forgotten that you’ve actually made them. So, in this episode, I offer a solution: banish making New Year’s resolutions! Here’s how….
Every time you don’t make a NYR happen, you feel like a failure or worse, you don’t remember you made the NYR. Why is this bad, you say? Either way–whether you feel negative emotions or you’re numb to your own planning–your brain remembers it all. These brain pathways (that is, physical brain matter) mitigate future growth by stopping you from planning in the first place. It equates planning with pain and your brain’s flight-or-fight response thinks it knows better so it helps you avoid activities that promote pain…even if “no pain, no gain” sometimes unlocks great potential. Or, your brain says, heck, you don’t do the stuff you plan to do so why waste energy on these brain functions! At the end of the day, you get the short end of your own gray matter.
So, what should you do instead of NYRs? Here’s what I’ve done for the past decade and while I haven’t achieved a single NYR (because I haven’t made one), I have achieved every goal I’ve set out to accomplish.
First, I chose a non-calendar end of my year. I chose my year-end to be October 31 and my “planning year” to start on November 1. November happens to be a significant time of year for me, my birth month, while it’s also an arbitrary time of year for most people. I like November because it’s before the major holidays (Thanksgiving and the winter holidays season) and yet it still gives me time to end the calendar year strong. So, during the month of October, I choose a number of goals for my upcoming year, by my life planning categories and by month. I try to focus on one life category per month through my year, then breaking down each goal into monthly activities and weekly activities and then daily activities. Monthly and weekly activities are usually planning and reviewing activities, while daily activities are usually the small, habitual tasks toward achieving that specific goal.
In all, make goals year-round and add activities toward those goals into your daily life.