This year I’m moving away from the traditional New Year’s resolution. I’m going to look at it differently. Instead of declaring my resolution, I’m going to dedicate my decision to habits I want to form.
Resolutions seem to be all talk. They are a proclamation, an announcement, or a declaration. New Year resolutions are fun to make but are often broken during the transition from declaration to action. “What’s your New Year’s resolution?” This question is asked a thousand times within a two-day window, then it is rarely asked or reported on again! Ha-ha, we’ve made it popular to have a statement of resolution but the accountability seems to stop there.
So what if we looked at resolutions different this year. What would happen if we created New Year Habits. Unlike resolutions, habits are action-based and, most importantly, our habits illustrate what we are; new habits we want to develop illustrate who we want to become.
Habits define our character.
Now that’s a scary thought. But isn’t it true? Habits are formed by discipline or the lack of discipline. Our character is revealed by what we consistently do over and over. It’s what other people know us to be. Their opinion of our character is based on what they have come to expect from us. Examples of our character are exposed in our habits: being on time, available, responsive or aloof, reliability in decisions, or our response to certain circumstances… over time, our habits become our character.
Can a person change their character?
Changes in character come about through changing our habits… not by making a resolution or declaration. Keep in mind we also form thinking habits. Just as we can develop a habit of being on time, we can also form habits for how we think with confidence, how we listen with interest, how we think about the words we use so they aren’t spiteful, or how we think of others so it’s not all about us.
Toss the resolution?
So let’s toss the idea of declaring our resolutions and start forming New Year’s Habits. What habits did you form this past year that you are proud of? What habits do you need to unwind? What kind of character do you desire? What habits do you need to form that will make that desired character real?
“I can’t toss tradition!”
If you just can’t stand the thought of tossing the tradition of a New Year’s resolution then do this: declare what habits you need to form to take your resolution from statement to action. Then put a monthly reminder in your electronic calendar to check your habits on the first of each month. This will break your annual resolution down into a monthly habit check.