Why Resolutions (Will Always) Suck.


I used to hate resolution time.

I rolled my eyes at all of the “you can do it” ads in Januarys past because resolutions should be made all year round. No, it was because I’m a bit of a procrastinator. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to take on anything that was going to suck.

The last one. That’s it.

To tackle resolutions successfully, you have to want it with everything you’ve got and understand that at least some part of the road to the finish line is absolutely going to suck.

Think about everything you’ve done in your life that’s truly worth it. Take, for example, a college education. Was every day filled with fun and friends and libations? Sometimes people remember it that way, but if that were true, then a degree wouldn’t have been the prize.

What about your brand’s “opening day”? Press coverage: good. Revenue: growing. Accolades: blissful. But what about the months of preparation, late nights, expenditures, and lost sleep lodged within that same nostalgic period?

At Proof, we’ve got some tough resolutions of our own. But there’s a way to ease the pain. No, not (always) with chocolate or wine, but with some very simple guidelines:

  1. Don’t overthink it. A complicated plan of action does not a reasonable resolution make. That’s why Weight Watchers and all the other self-help New Year giants are so successful. Create a simple-step process. And if you can’t figure one out, see number 2.
  2. Ask for help. No one said you had to have all the answers. That’s what “experts” are for. Whether you want to master a new skill, lose 50 pounds, or just need help wrapping your head around your next move, seek out an expert. Take a class. Hire a trainer. Buy your friend dinner in exchange for valuable, concrete advice.
  3. Use the buddy system. This one’s a bit different than the expert. You’ll need someone to call your bluff without getting offended when they do, and support you when you want to quit. Figure out who that person is and be open to returning the favor—they’ll probably need your help, too.
  4. Make the first month count. Like Ellie Kemper’s character, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt says, “You can stand anything for 10 seconds. Then you just start on a new 10 seconds.” That’s what I tell myself in in this new barre class I signed up for (note: carefully consider fitness resolutions), and for everything else, I translate that into “You can stand anything for a month. Then you just start on a new month.” Eventually, you’ll overcome the pain, maintain a rhythm, and get a glimpse of that silver lining. But that first month of pure hard work is critical to push momentum and set the tone.

When you make a resolution, you’re daring to change the way you live your life. You’re upsetting the norm. You’re making the comfortable uncomfortable. And that’s, well, uncomfortable.

But if it matters enough, then, go for it. Remember: Don’t overthink it. Ask for help. Use the buddy system. And make the first month count.

You’ll reach your goals a little faster, with a few less scars, and stronger motivation to reach for better again and again. The suck-y part will be a distant memory.

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