Why You Should Skip Resolutions This Year

Photographed by Anna Alexia Basile.
The year 2014 is winding down. You’ve celebrated the holidays, you’ve created your Facebook “Year In Review," and you're probably starting to ponder what the next year will bring — and what constructive changes you could be making. But, you’ve heard time and again that many resolutions are never kept — and do you really need to set yourself up for disappointment?
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Instead of making lofty goals yet again (Finish that grad-school application! Save more money! Spend fewer hours on Instagram! Start CrossFit!), consider approaching your self-evaluation by making “un-resolutions.” As a business journalist and a partner of a PR coaching firm, I began making these strategic, mindset-shifting objectives instead of focusing on unattainable mantras. These antitheses can be big boosters for your career, your love life, your fitness goal — whatever your heart desires. Read on for four concrete ways to create change in 2015.
Photographed by ClairePepper.
1. Examine what you want to feel rather than what you want to accomplish.
By focusing on a feeling you want to achieve, rather than a singular accomplishment, you can visualize multiple potential outcomes that could lead to that feeling — and you may become more open to different ways to get there. For example, if you want to feel a sense of “financial abundance,” the outcome could be getting a raise or new job, switching to a lower-rent apartment, starting a side gig, or finding other ways to spend less money on a regular basis. All lead to the same feeling — financial abundance — but in different ways, which increases your chances of success.
How To Make Your Un-Resolution
Ask yourself: How do you want to feel? Write down the first few phrases that come to mind and focus on the emotions, not the acts, experiences, or things that would make you feel like that.
2. Work from a place of inspiration versus a place of obligation.
My business partner and I suggest creating a 90-Day Vision. Three months is long enough to see some improvements but short enough to shift your goals if needed. Ask yourself, “What do you want to feel like in 90 days? What do you want to have accomplished?” and put those visions down on paper. Actual images can be even more powerful: Make a Pinterest board, or an old-school collage out of pictures from magazines or catalogs.
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How To Make Your Un-Resolution
Take those feelings from step one and unpack them into more specific experiences, actions, and results. For example, if you want to feel more empowered and successful, that might mean bringing on 10 new clients in the new year, or being invited to speak at an industry conference sometime in the first six months. Find images and words of what you want the next 90 days to look like, and post them somewhere you’ll see them regularly. (And after three months, repeat the process.)
Photographed by Anna Alexia Basile.
3. Eat your frogs!
What’s that thing you put off doing yesterday, and the day before…or even the last few weeks or months? That’s your “frog,” according to researcher Brian Tracy. If you know you have to “eat a frog” (metaphorically!), i.e. do something you’re not super psyched about and you keep putting it off, you begin to dread it. That gives it way too much energy and attention. However, if you eat the frog at the beginning of the day, you get it out of the way and can move on to more enjoyable tasks.
How To Make Your Un-Resolution
Practice eating one “frog” every day before diving into the rest of your to-do list. You will be amazed at how much better you feel, and at what comes as a result of getting that one thing out of the way. Because, our frogs are often outgoing ships (see point #4), which as you’ll see can come back loaded with treasure.
4. Send your ships.
In the old days, ships would often come back from a journey carrying news, goods, wealth — and untold treasure. Some ships would get wrecked in a storm or lost, and would never return. But the ships that came back with treasure made it worth the risk and hardship of losing the others. This idea of “sending out ships” can become a metaphor for bringing more opportunities into your life. For example, if you’re trying to get into better shape, one of your ships could be asking a friend to accompany you to bootcamp class every Monday. If you’re dreaming about a new career, another ship would be sending out your résumé somewhere new, or setting up an informational interview. If you’re trying to grow your side business, a ship could be reaching out to potential clients or partners.
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How To Make Your Un-Resolution
Commit to sending out one to three ships every single day. Each ship should be something new that, if it “comes back” to you, would be treasure-filled. The best part? You succeed simply by sending your ships out — you don’t know what will happen once they’re in uncharted waters, but you’ve finished the first step.
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