Abandoning Your New Year’s Resolution Already? Do This Instead

Did you make a New Year’s Resolution for 2024? Every year, people talk about setting goals or resolutions for the new year. Inevitably, two-thirds of people who make New Year’s Resolutions abandon them within a month.

There are lots of articles out there which attempt to analyze why people don’t keep their resolutions, and just as many articles about either sticking to your New Year’s resolutions, or formulating resolutions that are attainable.

This is not one of those articles. Instead, I want to talk about creating a vision for the new year.

Visions Versus Resolutions

Here are some differences between a new year’s resolution and a new year’s vision:

  • Visions are long term. A vision is about a series of consistent decisions/actions that take you towards a desired successful outcome. A vision can be as broad as you desire. A resolution is a specific short term outcome.
  • Visions are connected. Visions are connected with our wishes and hopes and guided by values important to us. Resolutions typically involve a commitment to do or to not do a single thing.
  • Visions are a mindset. With a vision, we don’t necessarily need all the “how” right now. We can refine our visions and obtain resources along the way rather than having to figure out all the details up front. The point is to get into the mindset of working towards your goal.

The Power of a Vision

There is clarity in formulating a vision. The process of thinking through a vision and refreshing it each year requires us to think deeply about who we are and what is important to us. Only when we clarify what’s important can we then develop a sufficiently solid and compelling vision in our mind. That vision can then guide us to make decisions and choose priorities that move us towards our vision.

There is freedom in following a vision. Visions are not static; we are not stuck to an inflexible destination. They can evolve over time as our lives progress. At the same time, as we figure out what doesn’t fit into the vision, we have freedom that whatever does fit into the vision will be fine over the long term.

There is power in writing down a vision. In my experience, things always happen faster for me after I’ve written them down. When we know what we’re looking for, and we put that down in words, we now have a tangible thing that exists. It focuses us and helps us start noticing the right things. With the vision as our guide, we now have the ability to make smaller decisions along the way that add up to big differences over time.
My Personal Vision

One of the things I’ve always aspired to was to teach professionals in paid classes and workshops. At the time, I didn’t know how to get opportunities like these, so I left it in the back of my mind and reasoned that it would be something I’d get to after I retire.

Four years ago, I wrote down a specific vision that within 15 years, I would be teaching financial topics to fellow professionals and executives. That got me thinking more actively about my goal. I took a few classes myself for my own professional development and found myself looking at them from both a learning and teaching perspective. I networked and gathered more information from teaching professionals I knew.

Within two years, I found myself starting to teach a few short classes and workshops as people in my professional network became aware of my interest in teaching and invited me to join them. That turned into an opportunity to teach as a part-time adjunct professor at a local university specializing in working professionals.

Not only has teaching been fun and fulfilling, the topics I teach have also helped me hone my skills as a financial life planner. I’ve since updated my vision to be an invited speaker at a professional trade show or corporate retreat, and to grow my teaching to become its own viable stream of income.

Paint A Picture of Your Future

As we start the new year, I recommend that each of us paint a picture of what would be fun, cool, and fulfilling in the future. If you’ve done this already, great— take the new year as an opportunity to refresh that vision. Is it still what you want? What are some things you can do to move you closer?

It doesn’t matter right now whether your vision is realistic or if you know right now how it can be done. When asked to describe 10 years ago how they would have imagined where they are now, most people would have no idea or be way, way off. By simply writing down your vision, you will take the first step on your path that may lead you to fantastic places that you cannot imagine today.

If you’re interested in a deeper dive into the topic, here are two books that helped me greatly in my process:

The ONE Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results – by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived Joyful Life – by Bill Burnett & Dave Evans

We partner with our clients to help them develop and realize their visions. Please contact us for more information on how to get started.