Setting New Year’s Resolutions That Can’t Fail

December 26, 2007  

Once again it is that time of year when we look forward into the new year. We set our resolutions. Lose 10 pounds. Stop smoking. Get out of debt.

Unfortunately, most resolutions are about fixing what is wrong with you rather than bringing pleasure into your life.

In addition, most resolutions are target- and time-based goals (e.g., lose 10 pounds by the end of the year). These just set you up for failure. It’s no surprise that according to a survey of mine, only 8% of people are successful in fulfilling their resolutions.

And those who do achieve their resolutions are often no happier. When you focus on a target-based resolutions, you are focused on the future rather than the present. As a result, you miss the “hidden” opportunities around you, and miss out on the joy of every day life.

What’s a more creative alternative?

Rather than setting specific, measurable goals, set a New Year’s Theme. A theme is one word (or set of words) that serves as your “game” for the year.

In the past, my themes have included “flexibility.” That year, I got rid of almost everything I owned to the point where I was able to move apartments in the back of a taxi with only two trips.

Some past themes of mine include “platform,” “impact,” and “creating a movement.” Readers of this blog have sent me their themes which have ranged from “laughter” and “joy” to “new beginnings” and “(embracing) imperfection.”

I am still formulating my themes for this year and will announce them next week.

Setting a New Year’s Theme is fun. It’s easy. And it enhances your every day creativity.

If you want to learn more about setting resolutions that work, try some of the following resources:

Happy Holidays!

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10 Responses to “Setting New Year’s Resolutions That Can’t Fail”

  1. Facilitation - Evaluation - Beyond the Edge - Viv McWaters on January 1st, 2008 10:31 pm

    [...] Community Building, Finance, Lobbying, Advocacy and Organisation etcSteve Shapiro writes about setting new year resolutions that can’t fail – by shifting from goals (which are often unachievable and set us up to fail) to a ‘yearly [...]

  2. Facilitation - Evaluation - Beyond the Edge - Viv McWaters on January 2nd, 2008 12:04 am

    [...] Aerogard) is as good a place as any for any reflecting and pondering I might do. I’ve taken Steve Shapiro’s advice and have come up with two intentions for 2008  - be adventurous and let go. They are very closely [...]

  3. My New Year’s Resolution : Stephen Shapiro on January 2nd, 2008 7:04 am

    [...] Comments Facilitation – Evaluation – Beyond the Edge – Viv McWaters on Setting New Year’s Resolutions That Can’t FailFacilitation – Evaluation – Beyond the Edge – Viv McWaters on Setting New Year’s Resolutions That [...]

  4. Happy New Year. Now drop all of your New Year’s resolutions! on January 2nd, 2008 7:31 am

    [...] Steve Shapiro says it best: Once again it is that time of year when we look forward into the new year. We set our resolutions. Lose 10 pounds. Stop smoking. Get out of debt. [...]

  5. Kare Anderson on January 2nd, 2008 7:47 pm

    I heartily agree. Like your theme, a slogan is likely to focus (specifically) on the positive
    http://www.movingfrommetowe.com/2007/12/28/what’s-your-personal-slogan-to-live-by-in-2008/

  6. Moving From Me To We.com » Blog Archive » What’s Your Personal Slogan to Live by in 2008? on January 2nd, 2008 7:49 pm

    [...] you. Specificity leads to clarity. So crystalize your approach to 2008 in a single sentiment or theme. Create the next chapter of the adventure story you want for your life with others in 2008 and [...]

  7. Goals That Work | Stephen Shapiro on Innovation, Creativity, Goals, Performance & Thinking on January 21st, 2008 11:02 am

    [...] achieved so you give up totally. He then describes what works (something I suggest on this blog): setting a theme. Here are his [...]

  8. yevka’s gondola ride » Simplify - make a theme on February 8th, 2008 11:00 am

    [...] Stephen Shaphiro.  Source   [...]

  9. Play Like the Patriots - Win Like the Celtics | Stephen Shapiro on Innovation, Creativity, Goals & Performance on June 18th, 2008 8:59 am

    [...] readers of this blog know that I set New Year’s themes, not resolutions.  At the beginning of the year, after the incredible regular season performance [...]

  10. Facilitation - Evaluation - Beyond the Edge - Viv McWaters on January 1st, 2009 2:10 am

    [...] time last year I wrote: I’ve taken Steve Shapiro’s advice and have come up with two intentions for 2008  - be adventurous and let go. They are very closely [...]