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You Need to Set Resolutions You Won’t Keep

As 2018 winds down, a lot of people will find themselves setting resolutions that they probably won’t keep. Don’t believe me? Take it from U.S. News, which found that most New Year’s resolutions fail. But that’s not even the worst part — apparently 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by February, just two months into the New Year. Talk about good odds, huh? You’ve may have seen my last article encouraging people not to be one. In this article, I will argue exactly the opposite. Yes, you probably should set goals you may not achieve and here’s why. Confused yet? Good.

1. Resolutions Are Meant to Push You

Resolutions show us who we are. But perhaps more importantly, they show us who we want to be. This is an important point because it points to the very foundation of resolutions, which are by nature intended to be aspirational. They give us hope, sending a strong message grounded in the premise that no matter who I am today, I can always be better tomorrow. That is a powerful mentality.

In my last post, I wrote “What matters is that you acknowledge one essential truth: you won’t wake up in 2019 a brand new person.”

With all due respect to myself (and at the risk of sounding loony), I acknowledge that this a fair point, but also believe that some people should feel free to reject this logic. Sure, you will not wake up in 2019 a brand new person. But you could wake up a better version of the same person. People should be able to set goals that push beyond what they previously thought possible for themselves. Remember, everything seems impossible until it is done. Maybe you will surprise yourself.

2. Failing Fast Means Succeeding Faster

Life is about learning. Maybe you fail at achieving a resolution. The good news is that at the very least, you learned and you’re probably better positioned to make better goals next time around. Wayne Gretzky said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I take it further and say “the quicker you miss the shot, the sooner you can adjust and get it right.” Resist the urge to only set goals within your comfort zone. If meaningful change was easy, there’d be no need for resolutions in the first person and everyone would already be perfect.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” — Wayne Gretzky

3. Effort Still Matters

In my last post, I wrote “Save yourself the trouble now so that you’re not looking in the mirror staring at an ice-cream mustache and a beer-belly and wondering “where did I go wrong?”

Once again, a fine point that I couldn’t have made better myself. But here’s the thing: not everyone takes an “all or nothing” approach to goals. For many people, they are better off for trying. For example, if your goal was to go to the gym five times a week, and you went two. You are still better off than if you hadn’t have gone at all. Trying counts for something. Luckily, it’s your life and there’s no punishment for setting goals you don’t end up seeing all the way through.

Now, here’s the bottom line. If you’re setting unrealistic goals for the New Year, maybe you’re setting yourself up for failure. But maybe, just maybe, you’re realizing that doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will. In which case, my unsolicited advice is simple — shoot for the moon and even if you fail you’ll still be among the stars.