This is the time of the year when many people feel the need to write down their “New Year’s Resolutions.” This tradition of becoming introspective and looking forward to a “better life” dates all the way back to 153 BC when the mythical king of early Rome, Janus, was placed at the head of the calendar. Janus had two faces and could look back on past events, while also looking forward to the future. Webster’s defines the word resolution as “a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent.” Which sounds really good, but let me share why I don’t think that will really work.

Many people would like to have a million dollars in the bank and the reality is that nearly every American could accomplish that quite easily. All they would have to do is live like many other cultures in the world, as large extended families all in the same residence. The reason we don’t is that we are much more committed to making our own rules, being independent, and not having to deal with other peoples issues than we are to having a million dollars in the bank. So while our “intent” on January 1 is to save more, we aren’t willing to actually take the actions necessary to do it for more than 2-3 days, because those actions conflict with the “dreams” that we have of “doing what we want.”

A common definition of insanity is continuing to do the same things, but expecting different results. Which is exactly why I think the idea that you will change your life by writing New Year’s resolutions down on a piece of paper is as mythical as the Roman King Janus for whom the tradition started with. My firm belief is that the only way you will actually make any lasting changes is to spend the time necessary to actually identify and write down what your dreams are. Find those visions that you think about in the back of your mind constantly, that you would do anything to achieve.

Do you want to be a collegiate All American? Do you want to be the starting pitcher for your high school? Do you want to be known as the best coach in softball history? The parent that your teenagers love talking to? Identifying these dreams is the first step, but also the hardest. Many are afraid to admit things like those for fear that they will fail. For fear that they will be laughed at. For fear that they aren’t good enough to achieve them. So instead of admitting that they have a dream, their fear keeps them in the same cycle of coming up with “resolutions” on January 1 and then falling right back into “settling” by February 1.

So quite settling, admit your dreams, and then go out and pursue them with a passion this year instead of just making a wish list.

Category : Coaching / Mental advice