New Year Resolutions

Turning New Year’s Resolutions Into Fundraisers

Scott E. Mills Scott E. Mills
Dec 2021

New Year Resolutions
It’s that time of year when we give thanks and spend more time with family and friends around the holidays. We often find ourselves abandoning restraint when those beef wellington hors d’oeuvres show up at a cocktail party or when the peppermint bark cookies hit the dessert table. We rationalize living a gluttonous December because we know we’ll be hitting the gym and burning these extra calories in the new year.

We all are familiar with New Year Resolutions and different new year resolution ideas. We set promises or make pledges to focus on and improve our health in the coming year. Some promise to end bad habits, while others look forward to starting positive ones - such as eating healthier, getting better shape, giving back to our community, getting organized, etc. Despite our best intentions, by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, most of us have fallen off the wagon. Ever wondered what percentage of new year’s resolutions fail? The Journal of Clinical Psychology observes that the failure rate of new year’s resolutions exceeds 50%. And we’ve seen others that report this fall-off rate as high as 80%! What makes it difficult for so many people to stay committed?

Often, it’s our approach towards making resolutions that is incorrect, or we’re simply making bad resolutions! The following are a few reasons:

1. Making too many (and unrealistic) resolutions.
2. Lacking specificity in our goals.
3. Lacking structure & accountability to achieve the goal.

As this quote by Albert Einstein goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. For 2022, we encourage you to take a different approach toward setting & meeting your New Year’s Resolutions. Below is a list of things you should know about how to keep new year’s resolutions:
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  1. Prepare Yourself Mentally

    Year-end is a perfect time to reflect upon the past year’s accomplishments and failures and where you’d like to make changes. After all, the history of New Year’s resolutions dates back to 153 B.C., with January named after Janus, a mythical Roman god with two faces – one that looked back into the previous year and one that looked ahead into the future. As such, the Romans would hold sacrifices and make pledges to be on their best behavior for the coming year.

    First, ask yourself if you are in the right mindset to change. Just because the calendar says January 1st doesn’t mean that’s when you need to start your resolution journey. There’s nothing wrong with starting January 8th or even February 1st. Start when you’re ready but remember that you need to be 100% committed.
  2. Choose One or Two Resolutions

    The key to success lies in starting small. If you have too many resolutions, you’ll eventually feel overwhelmed, or you’ll fail on some, creating a cascading effect. It’s also important to choose something unique to you, not what society has said is essential. Do you aspire to become physically more active and get more exercise? Try waking up every day at 5 am and walking around your block. Are you spending too much money dining out? Decide to make dinner one extra night per week. These are just a few examples that are not only resolutions but routines that you can learn for a much happier life.

    Consider adopting the SMART goals method (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound), as coined by the journal Management Review typically used in Business. The New York Times has eloquently discussed how this can be relevant for New Year’s Resolutions.
  3. Dedicate Your Resolutions

    One fantastic way to stay accountable is by dedicating your resolutions for or to someone else. For example - If New Year’s Resolution is to run at least 1 mile every day, pledge to donate a dollar (or five) for each day you meet your goal. Doing this would not only result in giving back to a cause you care about, but it will also make you more accountable. Start journaling and laying out expectations for the following week. When we write things down, it helps reinforce their importance, and they become permanent. Making post-it notes and sticking them on your computer or writing on your whiteboard will make your goals visible and remind you of the same throughout the day.
  4. Incentivize Yourself

    Each day that you keep moving forward is a success. Those small successes are progress and add to more significant achievements for the year. Find some way to celebrate such achievements in a way that brings you joy. Using our example from above, did you wake up at 5 am and go for a walk every day the first week of January? Savor a nice glass of wine or watch a film.

    Also, remember that even if you skipped a day or failed to reach your intended daily goal, it does not mean you failed. This is a journey.
  5. Progress Is Seldom Linear

    Change isn’t easy, and it certainly is not a straight line. There may be times when we regress, but that means we’ll only grow and achieve greater success from that point forward. If you miss a day, a few days, or even a week, you can still get back on schedule the following day. Think of each day as a new beginning, or even better, think of each day as January 1st.

TAKEAWAY

Having success with New Year’s resolutions starts with being in the right mindset. If you have the will to keep making an effort to stay committed, that’s half the battle. When ready to start, be sure to stay accountable by writing down your resolution(s) and daily progress. Once you make your resolution(s) a routine, it will be that much easier to stay committed, and you’ll be leading a much happier and fulfilled life as a result.

A Note For Organizations (Nonprofits or Employers)

Organizations have a tremendous opportunity to be changemakers within their communities and inspire people (employees or volunteers) to create healthier habits and stay compliant with those. Talk to our team if you’re interested in creating New Year Fitness Resolutions - Health & Wellness challenges for your constituents. Whether you want to encourage your community to be more active or want to promote positive mental health outcomes for everyone, Charity Footprints virtual challenges can help you create and manage such initiatives in an effective way. Go further and empower participants to earn charitable donations against their New Year’s Resolutions. It’s a Win, Win, Win!
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