I received comments from some readers, regarding last week’s post, that they have not set any New Year’s resolutions. This is as a result of setting them and not attaining them in previous years. I believe the term ‘New Year resolutions’ sometimes has negative connotations. The pressure to accomplish them can be overwhelming. What are New Year resolutions? Strip away the fancy name, New Year resolutions are simply your goals and targets for the year.
I will argue that most folks who claim not to have any 2011 New Year resolutions have actually set some goals and targets for themselves. They have simply chosen not to refer to them as New Year resolutions. It doesn’t matter what terminology you choose, what matters is to make sure that you set realistic targets or goals that are challenging enough to stretch you to grow. There is no value in staying within your comfort zone in 2011.
Productive people have good habits and unproductive people do not. Habits are learned as a result of practice and repetition. Good habits are responsible for most of your success and bad habits are responsible for most of your problems and frustrations. John Dryden said that “we first make our habits, and then our habits make us”.
Your major obstacles to having a productive 2011 are your entrenched bad habits. It is difficult to eliminate bad habits and this is why some New Year resolutions fail. The main thing you have to realise when dealing with bad habits is that they are notoriously difficult to eliminate. This is because they can only be replaced. Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutch theologian, argued that as nail is driven out by another nail so is a habit overcome by another habit.
I believe that you need to replace your unproductive habits with productive ones. Nature abhors a vacuum. Something must always take the place of what is eliminated. Therefore your mantra should be less unproductive habits, more productive ones. Since time is constant for everyone (24 hours), take time from one habit (unproductive) to feed another (productive). The trick is to starve your unproductive habits to death.
So what habits are helping you or hindering you from accomplishing your 2011 goals/targets or New Year resolutions?