One of my former colleagues used to live by the mantra “If you want some things to change in your life, you have to change some things in your life”. While it is the most obvious of truths, it is difficult for most to actually put in to place.
Think about it. About this time every year, people start to assess their lives, determine what they would like to change and then make ‘resolutions’ around achieving that change.
C’mon, admit it. How many of your resolutions have been repeated for 3-years or more? I am willing to bet most of us have at least one. I know that in past years, I certainly have. So I have decided I am not going to call the resolutions of our past ‘resolutions’ any longer – I am going to call them ‘wishes’. Resolutions imply being resolute – wishes are things that just happen.
Firm in purpose or intent; determined
Wishes carry the implication that the results are up to someone else. The Genie gives Aladdin 3 of them. Cinderella gets hers granted by her fairy Godmother. Pinocchio’s are granted by wishing upon a star. See the trend? Besides all being Disney classics, they all also relied upon the power of others to receive their wishes.
If it is to be, it is up to me! ~ Anonymous
So how do we ensure that this year we make resolutions vs. wishes?
- Wishes are nebulous – Resolutions are specific. Eat healthier. Exercise more. Reduce debt. Be a better friend. All of these are great aspirations but are horrible resolutions. So if I eat a tomato today with my salad did I achieve the ‘eat healthier’ wish for the year? Make sure your resolutions are specific in the actions that will help you achieve the larger more nebulous wish.
- Wishes last forever – Resolutions have an expiration date. When are you going to achieve the end result of all of your hard work? Put it on a calendar. This is critical to making the next step work.
- Wishes focus on the macro – Resolutions focus on the micro. If the end that you have in mind is to lose 30 lbs, we set a goal of a target weight (big picture). While having the end product in mind is important, you need to focus daily on the little steps that will get you there. Exercise 5 days a week. Get your heart rate up to specific levels. Make sure you do not exceed specific caloric intake levels.
- Wishes magically happen – Resolutions can be measured. Now that we know what we need to do every day to step closer to our end result, track it. Cutting back debt? How much is being paid off and when? Being a better friend? Who are the 3 people you reached out to today? If you did not track it, it did not happen. Depending on the nature of the resolution, I am sure there are dozens of aps already designed to help you track the activity surrounding your resolution.
- Wishes are luxury – Resolutions are necessity. When you wish for something, you are neither surprised nor disappointed when it does not happen. After all, it was a wish. When you are resolute about something, you are going to make it happen. It is a necessity. This especially shows through in 4 out of the 5 of my travel Guardrails. Want to guess which rule is the one I break the most?
- Wishes are private – Resolutions are public. Now this one may be uncomfortable but you are far more likely to achieve a goal, even a well-crafted one, when you have accountability. Find a family member, a mentor, someone on the same path as you or even one of the many website/aps out there that assist with this.
Remember, wanting to make a difference in your life is a good thing!! Let’s just make sure we are really making resolutions and not just making wishes.