How Many Resolutions Are Enough?

Here we are again. The first workday Monday of the year.

There’s something about the ending of last season, that makes us anxious to do more—be more—in the next season. New Year’s resolutions swirl around in our heads. We come to work with a mix of emotions.

We feel a determination for a more productive year. And we also experience disillusionment because of the resolutions we've already discarded.

Forget about any abandoned resolutions. If they’d been the right resolutions, they wouldn’t have ended up on the trash heap before the end of the first month. Some people are so frustrated with failed resolutions that they choose to not have any. That’s fine, but it seems a waste of a perfectly good natural instinct for self-improvement.

The real problem is having more than one resolution.

One resolution is enough. Perhaps two, if there is one for your personal life and another for your work life. Choose the best and let go of the rest. Don’t agonize over this decision. Once you finish the one, you can always go back and pick up another.

The thing about having more than one resolution is that your brain has to switch from one focus to another. It’s that switching that causes you to lose your determination. It’s the switching that dilutes the importance of the resolutions. It’s the switching that distracts you from getting anything done.

How to choose? Make your list, and choose the thing that, once completed, will make the most impact on your life.

When you have many resolutions, it’s not uncommon that they all point to one larger issue. You may find that these multiples will get picked up in the larger issue anyway. Don’t spend a lot of time on this. Go with your gut, since generally you probably already know what you need to work on.

After making the choice, begin and end each day (or workday for work related resolutions) the same way. End the day with a check of what you completed today, and a plan for what you will do tomorrow. This allows your subconscious to work on the resolution during your down time. Even if you didn’t do what you had intended, acknowledge the day, and make a plan for tomorrow.

Then begin each day the same way. You already set your plan the night before, so there are no choices to make. Don’t make a big deal of it. Just start working.

Resolutely start each day with whatever you need to do to get a little closer to your goal.