By Tora Matys
Every year millions (maybe even billions) of people start off their new year with the ‘New Year, new me’ concept. But why is it that by the end of January people have already given up on this promised new person?
Too often it seems people set hard number goals with no real concept as to why they want to achieve that, and this causes them to become stressed and exhausted. Perhaps, the key to a successful new year’s resolution is in finding a deeper, more personal goal.
Klarissa Paradis is a local leadership and lifestyle coach. She runs workshops and conferences helping individuals figure out what their true values are and how to be inspired and passionate about whatever they do.
“We have such a traditional way of goal setting, where it’s SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely) goals, and there’s science to show it does work but there’s science to show it’s not for everyone. Knowing [yourself] is the biggest thing,” said Paradis.
For some people creating a hard number or a SMART goal can be intimidating and cause apprehension, eventually leading to exhaustion and goal burn-out. Goal burn-out is a term Paradis uses to describe what can happen when a goal is established out of fear.
“We make goals out of fear and lack. [For example] if I’m not 50 lbs lighter, I won’t be ready for the beach, I’m not gonna… [etc]. That’s a lack based fear mentality and fear is a really short term motivator. It’s good for flight or fight, but your adrenals are not meant to sustain you for a six-month goal, or a two-week goal truly. That’s when goal burn-out happens,” said Paradis.
It’s important to establish what exactly it means to have achieved the resolution or why it’s so important. Using real numbers or virtual data and achievements are great, and technology has come a long way to help people establish and track their goals.
But without these things what is the true and personal meaning of a goal?
“If you’re not connected to your goal in a meaningful way, you have no incentive to do it. Like it or not, we are often incentivized to do things,” said Paradis.
“You have to think, what if you were able to create an intrinsic motivator, something within you, so you knew you could sustain yourself without any wearable tech or numbers in the scale? What would that look like?”
If the resolution is to get better grades this semester, what would that look like? Maybe it would be checking Moodle every morning and writing down a daily plan. It could also be making sure to read the chapter before class, or handing in assignments the day before. Most of these questions point to behaviours, and this is the root of a successful resolution.
“Behaviour is one of my favourite words in the world because its, be-have. If you want to have something you have to be a certain way,” said Paradis.
In essence, to finally complete that new year’s resolution, it should be set out of passion and self-incentivized. Understand what it takes to reach that goal, and behave like someone who has already achieved that goal whether it be financial, education, physically or mentally.