Don’t Make Another Resolution, Ever. Try This Instead.

January 28, 2019
Suzanne Murdoch
Preservation chopping a timber frame tenon

It’s hard to believe that January is already almost history. Chances are, so are your New Year’s resolutions.

How many times have you resolved to “get healthy” or “find a new job” only to find lots of reasons why now just isn’t the time? You’re not alone. According to USA Today, January 17 is the day most people have thrown their resolutions on the proverbial trash heap. That is, until next year when the cycle starts again.

So, instead of being five weeks into creating the “new” you, you feel stuck in the same place. Your gym membership is still unused; your healthy eating plan derailed on the third day; you haven’t even started exploring new career opportunities. It’s not because you’re lazy or lack resolve. Actually, the problem isn’t you at all.

Resolutions paint a pretty picture, but don’t give you a roadmap to follow. It’s a little like telling yourself, “I’m going to travel around the world” with no plan or resources to make it happen. No wonder it’s overwhelming.

But let’s think about this. While you may not feel you’re actively acting on your New Years’ resolutions, your time hasn’t been wasted. Think of the last month as time to research and reflect. And, really, January 1 is just a day on the calendar. There are still eleven months to go in this year – and decades ahead – to pursue what’s important to you.

Whatever your age or circumstances, you can take the next step right now. Roll up your sleeves. We’re going to do this.

Restoring a window frame
  • Step One: Gut check. Make sure your goal is one that you really do want, not just an “I should.” Does it match up with who you are and where you really want to go? Does it align with your “why?” If your answers are “yes,” go to Step Two.
  • Step Two: Make it real. Before you do anything, learn more. Ask yourself key questions such as “What will it really take to get there?”, “What are the steps involved?”, and “What resources (including time) do I need to commit?” For example, if it’s losing weight, research different programs and talk to people who’ve been successful to learn how they did it. If it’s a career change, explore opportunities that leverage your strengths and seek out others who are already doing that job to better understand what it might be like for you.
  • Step Three: Take the first step. Give yourself permission to try it on for size. Take advantage of a trial gym membership to see if it’s a good fit for you and something you can commit to for a longer term. Take a course related to your career interest and experience what’s involved firsthand. At the very least you’ll gain knowledge and learn some valuable skills while having fun stretching yourself. You’ll also meet new people. Whether or not you decide this is for you, we’ll bet you’ll consider it time well spent.
  • Step Four: If you find yourself sticking with your goal, become part of a support community. Find a relevant Facebook or LinkedIn group of individuals who are working on accomplishing similar goals, and don’t be afraid to ask any questions you have or share your challenges. You might be surprised at the level of support you find from others who are traveling (or who have traveled) a similar path. Explore all the resources available out there – both people and information on platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Reddit, and more. It really helps when you know you’re not alone.

What’s the next step? Well, that really depends on you. If you’ve found a goal that has inspired you to do all of the above, you’ll be far ahead of anything we could suggest. The point is to take that first step regardless of the date on the calendar. Just forget those old resolutions and do just one thing today that moves you forward toward the life you really want.

If one of your goals involves career change, we’d like to help. NBSS has been helping generations of students forge their own career path and offers many ways to engage and learn about new career opportunities. If you have considered learning more about a career in the skilled trades and what we call “a good life, built by hand,” we invite you to connect.