Ah, here comes January 1, time to make outlandish promises with the best of intentions. It’s the day where we promise ourselves that we will conquer that mountain, learn to skydive, stop drinking, start training, lose weight and gain inner peace. We all do it don’t we? In the haze of post-Christmas bliss (or trauma depending on your family of origin) we make resolutions only to sweep them red-faced under the carpet sometime in March. It’s pretty much a given that the things we resolve are not going to happen. So I thought I would make a 6-step plan that can easily be followed to make sure that we never reach one of our goals.
1. Don’t think about your resolutions in advance.
If you really want to make sure what you promise yourself never comes to pass, the best thing you can do is put absolutely no thought into it beforehand. That way when it’s time to make your New Years resolution you haven’t thought of any significant goals. It leaves you free to declare you will do something really ridiculous and unrealistic (or better yet, recycle last years resolutions).
2. Make sure your resolutions in no way reflect your interests, strengths, capacity, or resources.
The best unfulfilled resolutions are the ones we either have no way of completing (like when I resolved to go skydiving in the year that I was pregnant) or no interest in completing. Whatever you do, do not make resolutions that reflect who you are as an individual – doing so will invalidate this whole process and may even make your resolution a reality.
3. Avoid creating lasting evidence of your resolution.
For goodness sake, do not write down your resolutions. Do not put them in your diary, pin them to your fridge, post them as your Facebook status or photograph them and put them on Instagram. Most importantly, do not create an accountability structure with anyone you can trust to follow up on how you are progressing towards your goals. The whole point of useless New Years resolutions is that they are easy to break when you are not faced with any evidence that they existed in the first place.
4. Don’t plan out how you will attain your goals.
It really is enough just to have the goal. You don’t need to plan out how you are going to achieve it. Having measurable checkpoints along the way only takes up time that you could better spend regretting the experiences you are missing out on.
5. Set your resolutions in concrete.
Assuming that you have followed this checklist through from the start, make sure that your unrealistic expectations are set in concrete. Make them the Ten Commandments – unchangeable and carved in stone. Make sure that you cannot rethink them and tweak them so that they better reflect your level of capacity and growth. The best thing that you can do is to bite off more than you (or anyone else) can chew then set an unrealistic time frame for completion and do not waver from it.
6. Finally, Benchmark your potential.
Compare yourself to others. This works well if you pick someone who is really talented or excellent at the thing you want to do (such as an Olympic athlete) and then compare your skill level to theirs. Tell yourself that your resolution will only be of worth if you do it as well as that other person would have done it and then convince yourself that your value as a human being hinges on it.
Happy New Year!!