I was not surprised to read that while over 40% of western hemisphere dwellers create new year’s resolutions, only 8% of us achieve them.

New Year’s resolutions, after all, are most directly, tradition; just as common as the historically-and-chronologically-incorrect-but-must-display manager scene where baby Jesus is met in the manger, at Christmas time, by the three wise men. And just as most of us have long ago heard Jesus was more likely born in the spring and visited by the magi over three years later, it’s a tradition we hold for the sake of tradition.

But that’s okay. There is a deeper emotional level added to a resolution when done at a time where senses and awareness are heightened. And the impasse between old and new is one of those times. As the current year slips from view and the new year rings, a stronger connection to the resolution can be leveraged. Resolutions set in emotion can help solidify commitments for a higher possibility for attainment. Still, many of us don’t achieve those New Year’s Resolutions. New Year’s Resolutions are in need of a facelift.

New Year’s Resolutions Are In Need Of A Facelift

And so I’ve pulled out my sewing scissors and have cut away at the process by which we are accustomed to setting them and being in the technology space in my career path, I have looked to technology for some assistance.

The Problem With New Year’s Resolutions

First, New Year’s Resolutions need a new definition. I heard a quote recently: To have something you’ve never had before, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before. The problem is, many of us look at New Year’s Resolutions as a time-honored tradition instead of a catalyst to the life we desire and deserve. Our New Year’s Resolutions must be more than a toast to the future. It must be our foundation for realizing that future.

More often than not, a New Year’s Resolution is set with the most grandeur or most hated things about oneself that we would like to change because that is simply what a New Year’s Resolution has always meant. But already this approach is self-defeating.  Rather than going to the most massive item on the things-I-hate-about-myself list, the snowball effect works most efficiently.

The snowball effect is where in psychology the brain and body work best towards a problematic task when that task is broken down into smaller more manageable pieces. As those smaller parts are completed, the mind and body gain awareness and confidence to continue the change path, picking up speed as we proceed. Similar to the proverbial rolling a snowball down a mountain. We’ve seen the cartoon; small snowball slowly starts to roll down a hill or mountain. As it rolls it picks up more snow, which creates momentum against gravity. As gravity pulls down on the snowball, it moves more quickly picking up more snow and creating an even large pull on gravity, in turn pushing the snowball faster which allows for more snow collection.

To gain actual progress towards the change we would like to see in our lives, we must break the issue down into manageable pieces; picking up confidence, momentum, and value as we build upon our changes week over week, month over month and year over year. We have to  break down our New Year’s Resolutions into smaller pieces, instead of the Miss America equivalent of curing world hunger

A New Definition

Becuase I am a word nerd, I looked up the definition of resolution. However, I left the “New Year’s” off the search to break the problem down into more manageable pieces. New Year’s was the part of the phrase that was easy to define; ‘new,’ not existing before; made, introduced, or discovered recently or now for the first time and ‘year’, the time that is taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun. But what did ‘resolution’ mean on its own?

But how does this definition apply to ‘New Year’s’?

Consider the definition restated in the following terms:
Display Monitor = the statement of our New Year’s Resolution
Pixels = our individual ability to achieve the changes we put forth
Image/Picture = the result of achieving or not achieving our New Year’s Resolution

Restated definition: Resolution is the number of pixels (individual ability to achieve the changes we put forth) contained on a display monitor (our statement of the New Year’s Resolution). The sharpness of the image (the result of achieving our New Year’s Resolution)  depends on the resolution and the size of the monitor (size of our New Year Resolution statement).

The sharpness of the picture  (whether we achieve our New Year’s Resolution or not) depends on the resolution/pixels and the size of the monitor (how large our New Year’s Resolution statement is compared to our ability to achieve that resolution we put forward.)

The larger that screen or, the larger the New Year’s resolution goal is, the less likely it is that we will achieve said New Year’s Resolution. Break those big items in your life down into bite-sized pieces.

Instead of going ham, as my husband would say, and go for something vast and complicated as your goal. Lay back and try to achieve something manageable. For instance, if you know you need to lose 69 pounds, try setting your resolution to something more manageable like: “I will work out five days a week for 15 min.”  Getting that 15 min in over a year will result in a weight loss that will get you closer to your ultimate goal.

The primary objective here is to break the New Year’s Resolution into manageable and actionable items.  Create a gratifying and confidence building snowball effect; setting yourself up for success instead of disappointment that could send you spiraling in the opposite direction.  New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be big, wild and crazy. Those in fact, hardly ever work. Don’t go big, go meaningful and achievable instead.