For about 30 years of my life, I’ve put together resolutions at the end of each year. Most of these have failed. This year, I’m taking a new approach. I’m giving up the New Year’s Resolution Marathon and breaking resolutions down into 7 day sprints. The first one starts today. Next year can wait. It’s time to finish strong.
The New Year’s Resolution Cycle
I can’t reliably predict the future. Not all of the future at least. However, I can name a few things that I can plan to see every morning during the first week of January. Pick a day. Wednesday? Okay, let’s do this.
People will be up earlier. 4:00 AM. 5:00 AM. Determined to do that thing that they couldn’t consistently do last year.
Brand new morning routines will start. Meditation. Running. Journaling. Dog Walking. Yoga. The gym. The gym that saw the same regulars for the previous 50 weeks will now be at capacity. Those committed regulars will battle a crowd while watching everyone else perform their annual pilgrimage to the treadmill.
Healthy breakfast. Bulletproof coffee. Overnight oats. Spinach and egg white omelet. Kombucha. Dairy free, gluten free, vegan, paleo, whole 30, you name it. We will all start our alleged diet commitment based on a routine proven by others during the other 11 months of the year.
The commute to work will include a new inspirational podcast. A new patience for traffic. A new course in the language of the country that we want to travel to. Something new.
Fridges at the office will be full of healthy, budget-conscious foods that replace that daily habit of eating fast food or dining out with coworkers.
126 million inspiring conversations will take place at the office about healthy breakfasts, exercise routines, and new year’s resolutions.
This probably sounds like I’m judging. I’m not. I know this routine because I’ve done it about 18 years straight. A lot of smart, successful people denounce New Year’s Resolutions because they don’t work, nobody sticks to them, on and on. I love New Year’s Resolutions! Hope is awesome. Positivity is awesome. Getting better is awesome. I only really see one critical flaw…
There are 8,760 hours in a year. That’s a shitload of time to forget about your resolutions.
Plan what you can see
My dentist does this thing every time I finish an appointment where they ask me when I want to schedule my next one. How does Thursday morning at 10:00 look six months from now?
“Uh, should be good.”
When that appointment reminder shows up on my voicemail the night before, that Thursday morning is stacked with meetings, to-do lists and other life obligations.
On New Year’s Eve, it’s easy to commit to reading a book, sticking to a habit, or going for a run two days later. It’s harder to commit to that same run at 10:00 AM six months later. New Year’s Resolutions are your dental appointment that sounds good now, but you forget about until the night before you are scheduled. This is why we fail.
So here’s my plan. Join me if you’d like. I am swearing off the New Year’s Resolution. Instead, I will resolve to finish this year strong.
My first resolution sprint
I have 7 days to pack in as much accomplishment as I can before the books are closed on this year. The permanent record for the year will be sealed. Income will be final. Our weight will be our weight. Miles run, books read, phone calls made, words written, guitar riffs learned…they will all be locked in as a fixed value of what we accomplished in this year of our life. Rather than look forward to next year, I’m going to give this last 1/52nd of the year everything I can.
Let’s pull out our resolutions from this time last year and see what we can still cross off the list. Sure, you may not know what you are going to be doing in September of next year. But you will know what you are doing in the next week.
For me, I’ll be running my remaining 28 miles, writing 32,000 words, taking my wife on three more dates, reading three more books and trying to get down to my fighting weight to take on 2018. I’m sure you have a different set of expiring resolutions. Anything you can tackle?
At this point, I think my call to action has been made clear. I’ll now dismount from this high horse and get after it for the next 168 hours. I have some work to do. I will enter the new year a few reps closer to my goals. If nothing else, I’ll make it to my dentist appointment on Thursday.
Bonus round: let’s carry the 7 day resolution into the first week of next year. Then build on it for the 51 weeks after that.