Why I Gave Up On New Year's Resolutions

The start of a new year is energizing; a horizon of opportunities and experiences. The end pales in comparison to a new beginning. New projects, new adventures, new stories, new everything. 

The start of a new year, however, can also bring another baggage of emotion: Revolutions. Wait, what I meant to say is "Resolutions." 

Resolutions are the backbone of revolutions: A New You! The opportunity to reflect on where you've been and where you're going. Then why am I giving up on this all together? 

A resolution is a firm decision to do or not to do something. I've made hundreds of them before: don't drink soda, go to the gym, make more friends, get organized, live life to the fullest. 

But what happens when we don't live up to our resolutions? Rather than a badge of honor, it becomes a badge of shame. Our list of "would be accomplishments" becomes a reminder of our failure and bad habits undone.  

This year, rather than creating a list of resolutions, I've made a mental shift to try something different... rituals and rhythms. In Darren Hardy's book titled The Compound Effect, he says, “You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” I would concur. Resolutions don't change your life, daily routines, rituals and rhythms do.

You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.
— Darren Hardy

Rituals and rhythms are guideposts throughout the week that keeps you focused on your bigger dreams and aspirations. It's good to have a 30,000 view of your life, but the success to accomplishing these goals are in creating rituals and rhythms which are daily habits and weekly checkpoints. These small routines allow us to create structure in our life for health, well-being and happiness. That's why making your bed in the morning every day is a simple routine that can help you psychologically feel like you're ready to move on to more complex goals that the day has in front of you. That's why taking one day once a week to rest can be a rewarding rhythm for a busy entrepreneur. Although these examples seem small and insignificant, they are the building block of a revolution: a New You!

three benefits to creating rituals and rhythms:

1. Rituals and rhythms are easy to identify.

We need simple goals, not complex ones. Goals that last a full year are hard to achieve because we mentally can't juggle all the variables that will come our way. Ask yourself the question: what will life look like in 2018? It's hard to answer right? But if we break our long-term goals into smaller bite-size rhythms, we have a better shot of getting there. So, if you want to write a book by next year, write every day for 30 minutes. Or, if you want to lose 20 pounds, go to the gym 3 times a week for 30 minutes. These smaller goals start with the end in mind but the success is making them simple and easy to accomplish. 


2. Rituals and rhythms allow us to fail.

Small, simple rhythms will allow you to be agile for all the u-turns and roadblocks that life will throw your way. The small choices we make every day that can be picked up if we fail one day. Hardy's formula for this is:

Small, Smart Choices + Consistency + Time = RADICAL DIFFERENCE

These choices can be small. For me, it's waking up early every day. If I sleep in one day or have a "grace day" to sleep in, I can easily pick it up the next day. 


3. Rituals and rhythms show us our limits.

When we have a list of resolutions, they make us feel invincible. It's like looking Everest in the face. But I liken rhythms to walking 10,000 steps a day. Sure, it's not traversing the world's largest peak, but knowing our limits, facing our limits, embracing our limits and building on them is key to a successful life. Hardy says, “It's not the big things that add up in the end; it's the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.” Rituals and rhythms remind us of what's important and what's superfluous, what really matters every day, and what is unnecessary. 

What rituals and rhythms will you adopt this year? What resolutions will you break down into rituals and rhythms in order to reach your future goals? 

Let's give resolutions a break this year and build healthy routines, rituals and rhythms in order to become a healthier version of us. 

Check out Darren Hardy's book "The Compound Effect". 

It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.
— Darren Hardy