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Why you shouldn't make New Year's resolutions

Every year on New Year’s Eve, we sit with our glasses of champagne or sparkling cider and watch as the clock counts down to midnight. Many of us are holding onto hopes of a brighter year and finally changing those habits we promised we’d finally get around to.

This is a tradition of celebrating New Year’s, which is why people are shocked when I tell them: “I don’t make New Year’s resolutions.”

My philosophy is this: you don’t need to wait until a new year to start making progress on your dreams and goals. So instead of chasing those New Year’s resolutions, here is why you shouldn’t – and what you should do instead.

The Changing Year Isn’t What Will Change You

The sudden switch of the year isn’t what will make you change. This motivation comes from inside you - and is something you can work toward every day. If you want to become an athlete, you won’t get there by telling yourself that suddenly this year, you’re going to run every day. Every time you lace up your running shoes or choose a salad instead of a Big Mac, you’ll be making a difference.

Small Bite-Sized Goals are Better than Big Resolutions

The goal isn’t to try and completely transform your life overnight, or even by next week. It’s by doing one simple thing today and then working at it each day. You don’t need to wait until the calendar flips over to a new year to make progress on any of your goals. Whether you’re working on your career, health, relationships, or life, waiting for the promise of a new year is just procrastinating. The truth is that even small steps add up over time to make a huge difference.

Your Life Won’t Suddenly Change Overnight

We have this unrealistic expectation that suddenly, on January 1st, our lives will be different. The expectation that we’ll suddenly be the #Girlboss we said we’d be on the 31st suddenly starts to feel a little out of reach. That’s because your life doesn’t just change overnight. Those big life changes are done through small changes that help you turn strategies into action - and through those actions you’ll get the results you want.

Resolutions Are Overwhelming

Resolutions tend to focus on something you want to change in a big way. They are so large that sometimes the only thing a resolution can do for you is stop you from starting. Instead of setting resolutions, why not set a plan or a goal. You don’t have to change your life by next week, so doing one thing today and one thing tomorrow is a great start.

Instead of Making a Resolution, Make a Plan

Saying you’re going to do something and doing something are two different things. Instead of saying you want to grow your career, become a leader in your industry, or find your focus or purpose, do something about it! Consider hiring a leadership or career coach to help you find the direction or help you discover what career might be right for you, or even try a leadership assessment to see how you are currently performing in your own career.

While the 1st may have come and gone, that doesn’t mean that it’s too late to start thinking about changing your life and your career. There’s very little reason why you should wait until a new year to get started on those big changes. You don’t need a milestone or even the first of a month to start changing your life for the better.

Sheila Cosgrove is a Leadership Coach, Career Strategist, and Founder and Executive Coach at Achieve and Inspire Leadership Coaching. She helps leaders find their purpose and realize their full career potential through a powerful and transformational coaching process. Her mission is simple: to help others determine what it is they truly want in their career, and to work with them in designing strong, detailed and realistic strategies to achieve success.

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