When I was in my early 20’s I belonged to a local gym where a group of us worked out on a year round basis. For most of us it was fairly common to be at the gym 10-15 hours a week. Not extreme, but enough to see each other regularly and get a good feel for who showed up day to day throughout the year. We became known as “the regulars.”
We would always see new members come and go, but nothing was more obvious than the first two months after the new year. People would flood the gym in January and I remember the complaints from the regulars regarding how crowded the gym had become. It was the same every year, but it never lasted. By the end of February things were back to normal. The new members were mostly gone and the regulars had the gym to themselves again.
The memory of the above reminds me why we should NEVER make new year’s resolutions. What is a new year’s resolution anyway? What’s magical about January 1st that makes us want to set new goals? Why couldn’t we have done the same any other day of the year?
New Year’s resolutions in my view are an illusion. They often have no substance, and no real commitment behind them. They sound good, and it makes us feel good to talk about them. But how many of us ever follow through on them for more than a brief time?
New Year’s resolutions come in many forms. Some of us want to lose weight, get in shape or change our lifestyle. Others might want to start new activities, find a new job, build new relationships, or whatever. It can be exciting in concept and the thought of it alone can be energizing.
But here’s the problem. Achieving most things that people tee up as New Year’s Resolutions are usually not easy. They take hard work, long-term sustained commitment, and support from others. This is where our focus should be. There is nothing about the new year that gives this to us. We are just kidding ourselves if we think it does.
Is there really anything different about us on December 31st as there is on January 1st? Did we suddenly have a burst of commitment when the magical ball dropped? It’s unlikely.
Rather than getting caught in the feeble trap of setting New Year’s resolutions, pick one thing you really want to achieve and get started with the process immediately. The day doesn’t matter, but your commitment to seeing it through does. Find a good support network of people who can push you when you get off track. And most of all, do not give up.
Success is usually just around the corner, but only if you stick to your commitment. If some of those new members at the gym just hung in there until the end of March they would have likely become regulars like the rest of us.