If we're being honest, most of us gave up our New Year's resolutions before we even started. 

Go to the gym five days a week? Yeah right. Read 200 books this year? Extremely unlikely. (Though I invite you to prove me wrong! It is possible.)

New Year's resolutions set us up to fail.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't aspire to achieve goals or to become better versions of ourselves.

It's just that New Year's resolutions don't tend to be the right way to go about making those changes. Many of these reasons have been well-documented by psychologists, including that resolutions tend to be vague, may overwhelm us, or are frequently far too overzealous to be actually achievable.

Plus, between work and life and to-do lists and productivity hacks and "crap, am I out of toilet paper?" (pun intended), frankly it just seems impossible to squeeze in that thing we should be doing. Our brains and schedules are already quite full.

So I give you permission to give up on your resolution. Don't feel too badly about it. If you really want to make some positive changes, here's one way to go about it.

Kill your year-long resolution in favor of one weekly focus.

Give yourself permission to focus on one actually achievable thing each week. This piece of advice comes from writer Kara Cutruzzula, who sends a daily bite-sized newsletter about work and productivity called Brass Ring Daily.

Cutruzzula invites her readers to acknowledge that our schedules are battlegrounds for our time. Scheduel, she calls it.

We can't be excellent worker bees, friends, exercise enthusiasts, and learners of a new language all at once. In the wise words of Randi Zuckerberg: "Maintaining friendships. Building a great company. Spending time w/family. Staying fit. Getting sleep. Pick 3."

Instead of trying to fit it all in every single day, every day of the year, why not pick the one thing you want to focus on this week?

This will be the week you get to bed on time every night.

This will be the week you pick up -- and finish -- a new book.

This will be the week you write your business plan.

This will be the week you cook a few meals at home instead of blowing money on ordering in every night.

If you try to do all of that in one week? Forget it. But you can make just one thing a focus of this week. You can switch it up next week, the week after that, and so on. After a few months, you may even revisit some of those goals and start at the top of your list.

You might not finish off your year having read 200 books. But you will have read a few more than you did last year. And that can certainly be considered a success.

Published on: Jan 8, 2019
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