Why I Don't Set New Year's Resolutions...


I purposely didn't send out a Happy New Year's message! It's not because I wasn't looking forward to a new Year, or new decade, but because so often blogs and messages from life coaches are all about a New Year and a New You!! (how many of those messages did you see on Facebook, IG and your email inbox over the past few weeks?)


Truth be told... I haven't set a New Year's Resolution since 2003 - when it was to "never set another new years resolution"!! And guess what, that one stuck! However, at the start of every year, I do resolve to set some goals with a whole of slack and forgiveness if those goals need to change. I had a lot of goals for 2019 - but life happens and we get thrown for a loop. Our priorities change, our lives change, which means sometimes, our goals change. I had a relationship end and a new one begin. I moved into a new beautiful home and closed my office to do my coaching and consulting services from there. All of these changes were bigger and better and brought on much more happiness. However, in the moment they were stressful, but all turned out to be a blessing in disguise. But of course, that meant my goals had to change....


With that being said, amidst all of the changes, it was still important for me to set goals, hold myself accountable and be sure to continue my self-care practice. One of the first things I did for the new year was buy a new daily planner, not just schedule my days, but more importantly - to track my goals and behaviors. I track the days I meditate and exercise - I track my expenditures and moods too. They are all connected! And of course, I write down my gratitude list daily. All of these help me stay on track and hold myself accountable.


Below are some suggestions for GOAL setting for this year. Remember, we don't have to set goals at the start of the year, month or week, these can be done ANYTIME! And our goals can change when we discover new information and when life throws us new opportunities - be flexible, but also hold yourself accountable.




Rigid vs. Fluid

Resolutions stay the same: “I will go to bed early.” “I will stop eating certain junk.” “I will go to the gym regularly even though I don't go at all right now.” If these are somewhat big changes, it may feel like a huge change with no buildup. Goals, however, can be tackled in steps, beginning with baby steps and increasing in difficulty as you become more accustomed to the change. This makes goals more realistic for lasting change.


Sense of Accomplishment vs. Sense of Failure

Goals give you a direction to aspire to, but with the baby steps you may be taking toward your goal, you can still feel like you’ve accomplished something and are on the right track, which will, in turn, keep you moving in the right direction. Once you’ve broken a rigid resolution, however, it’s easier to feel like a failure and give up. Starting with small goals helps you to feel more accomplished.


The Scope of the Change

Resolutions are usually a means to a goal, but if you find a resolution too difficult to stick to, it’s usually dropped and forgotten. With goals, if you find a planned change too difficult to carry out, you can adjust the goal to a lower intensity, or drop that plan but pick a different new behavior to try that will still lead to the same end result, and not lose sight of the goal.


Imagine you want to get in the habit of exercising to be in better shape. You might make a goal to go to the gym five times a week. But if you find that you just hate the gym, you probably won’t stick to your goal, and you’ll be no closer to feeling successful. However, if you make ‘getting more exercise’ the goal, you may drop the gym, but switch to walking through your neighborhood each morning, and still meet your goal. Something that has always worked for me is the buddy system - go walking together or track it in a journal! When you someone to be accountable to, your more likely to be successful. Even if that person is yourself!



Keep Your Future in Mind

Think of what you would have in your ideal life, and where you’d like to be in two, five, or even 10 years, and see if your goals bring you closer to that picture. If so, they’re good goals to stick with. If you can keep in your mind the image of where you would ultimately like your goals to take you, it’s easier to stick with them.


Follow the SMART Rule

Instead of making the goal to eat less unhealthy food, focus on trying to eat more healthy food. You may subconsciously feel more deprived if you think of taking something away rather than adding something good, and if you replace unhealthy food in your diet with healthy food, the same goal is accomplished.

S - Specific. Make your goal very specific.

M - Measurable. How will you know you're achieving your goal?

A - Attainable/Achievable. Set yourself up for success. Instead of "I am going to run a marathon in 6 months" when you haven't run in 6 years, maybe it's "I am going to run a 5 or 10 K in six months".

R - Relevant. Is this goal YOUR goal? Is it relevant to the other changes you are making in your life? Is it a worthwhile goal? Sometimes we set goals others want us to make. Those wont last...

T - Timely. Is it the right time in your life? Check out your other goals and what's going on in your life. Is this the right time? But, don't use it as an excuse NOT too. For somethings, there is NEVER a perfect time (like quitting vapping or smoking). But there may be a BETTER time. But again, don't use it as an excuse. And, set a time limit for your goals. "For the next week, I will eat breakfast everyday." "For the next month, I will go to the gym three times a week."


Think of What You're Adding, Not What You're Taking Away

Instead of making the goal to eat less unhealthy food, focus on trying to eat more healthy food. You may subconsciously feel more deprived if you think of taking something away rather than adding something good, and if you replace unhealthy food in your diet with healthy food, the same goal is accomplished.


It’s usually easier to add a behavior than to stop a behavior—so focus on adding more positive behaviors. Eventually, they'll squeeze out the negative behaviors.


visit www.nikkibuckstead.com for more information

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