By late January, most of us have abandoned our New Year's resolutions. It's a statistical fact. Resolutions can get a bad rap. The problem isn't making resolutions, but rather the resolutions we make. They require too much growth and, often, too much pressure for us to handle in a short period of time.
It's like signing up for a marathon before you even learned how to jog.
In making my own resolutions (yes, I did, too), I have leaned on a great quote from Tony Robbins's documentary I Am Not Your Guru:
Most people overestimate what they can do in a year and they underestimate what they can do in two or three decades. #iamnotyourguru-- Tony Robbins (@TonyRobbins) October 25, 2016
Sound familiar? Here is why it resonates.
Focus on the long game
Concentrating on long-term growth has two immediate benefits: It emphasizes strategy and it gives flexibility.
If you resolve to become a healthier weight in the next 30 days, then your mind will automatically start looking for the hack: What is the latest diet trend? How can I lose as much as possible as quickly as possible?
By stretching out your goal to, say, a three or five year plan, then you're focusing on methods that are sustainable rather than quick.
The other benefit is that you are much gentler on yourself in the process, making it much more likely that you will actually reach your goal. Going after a goal is much like the stock market: It never moves in a straight line but, through the ups and downs, it almost always ends higher than where it started. Obsessing on short-term gains is akin to being a modern-day Bitcoin investor. The dramatic emotional toll may outweigh any real gains.
Balance the short and the long
One good method is to set your long-range goal, then work backwards to figure out what increments you need to hit at what time. The increments create the milestones and those become the metrics that you measure.