Should you make a New Years Resolution? If everything is exactly as you want it to be, then no. For the rest of us, why not? I see this as an opportunity to reflect on what in my life needs an adjustment, then outline concrete simple steps that get me closer to my goal.
Should you have any? If everything is just as you want it to be, then no. For the rest of us, a big yes! Studies show that those who make goals get a lot further and closer to accomplishing them than going through life without goals.
While hitting the mark each time is rare, if your goals are huge, even missing the mark will be a big improvement. Just keep adjusting, resetting goals, and chase after them, if it is important to you.
No one keeps their New Years resolutions so why bother?
I would rather try and fail than to do nothing to improve my life and that for those around me. Too often we forget that failure is not to be feared, but embraced. Virtually nothing huge and important has happened without massive failure before it was accomplished. This is true whether it be a child learning to walk, Edison and the light bulb, or our own attempts at self improvement or starting a new business.
NEVER GIVE UP (personal example)
I had the goal of becoming a doctor. My motives were pure (well OK, in addition to wanting to help people, I probably was attracted to the prestige, status, and income potential). My freshman year in college, first year back in the USA having grown up in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), I got B’s and C’s. GPA: 2.5 …ouch! I transferred from Kalamazoo College where I had discovered there was no way I would ever be a doctor if I stayed there and started over at the University of the Pacific in Stockton California, as a biology major and vowed to tell no-one at that school I was pre-med.
I got A’s and B’s my second year, a 3.5 GPA which resulted in a two year average GPA of 3.0 …ouch again! I was basically a straight A student my last two years, ending up with a cumulative GPA of 4.3 in college.
After 12 rejection letters, that first year of applying to medical school, I enrolled for my masters in biology, became a teaching assistant and made plans to re-apply to medical school. Over the next two years I would retake the MCAT and improve my scores, complete my masters program and, after 33 rejection letters, I finally received that acceptance letter to Dartmouth Medical School in New Hampshire.
KEEP TRYING- When the goal is worthy
While moving this last year I stumbled on a poster I had made in 1989, of new year resolutions. I had forgotten that I used to do that, make a large visual poster of my goals. This one had a pyramid shape with top priorities at the top of the pyramid. My top #1 resolution in 1989 was to stop drinking. I used to drink more than I thought was healthy. That goal remained at the top of my list until 2002 when I had my last sip of alcohol. It took 13 years of trying and I now have 13 years since alcohol entered my body. I don’t drink today, and for me, it had to be all or none. It seemed I just couldn’t do moderation! But I kept the goal, and fought hard. Funny the solution on that one was surrender. Surrender to win. Sounds crazy right? Sometimes you just need to get some help outside of your own thinking.
MY GOALS for 2016
I share a few of my goals here in case this may be helpful to you. (Remember to be specific in your goals)
- Slow Down. I am poised to have the busiest year of my life. I run 4 clinics (Integrative Pediatrics, Pediatric Urgent Care, Fair Start, and Natura Integrative Medicine) I’m publishing a book, doing extensive research, and starting a new online business. I simply must take some time off. My goal is to take a lunch break, and Sundays off.
- Eat Right. Lose weight. For me sugar, gluten, and dairy (and processed foods) all result in weight gain and health challenges.
My goal is to eat no added sugar, gluten or dairy and minimize processed foods – focusing on organic fruits and vegetables, meats, nuts and seeds.
- Exercise. More is what I need. Specifically, I’ll work out a minimum of 3 times a week for at least an hour and try to add one long work-out each week where I build stamina.
I could write a very long list of things I will do for family, for work, for my businesses, and for personal and spiritual growth. The list I shared above was simply those things that I personally needed to focus on. If I lose my health, none of the rest matters.
What really matters most in your life?
I encourage you to write down three things you are willing to do to make 2016 that year that you finally got over the hump on a personal goal. Keep these goals in front of you. By the end of the first week, only 75% of us are still on track with our resolutions, and more than half have given up by 6 months. Clearly, the first weeks are key. Once you have created a new habit, a new routine – your chances of success are much improved.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Dr. Paul Thomas, M.D., F.A.A.P., received his M.D. from Dartmouth Medical School and completed his pediatric residency at the University of California San Diego. He is a board-certified fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, board-certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and a diplomat of the American Board of Addiction Medicine. He opened his own practice in 2008, Integrative Pediatrics, LLC, and he currently serves over 11,000 patients in the Portland, Oregon metro area. He is the co-author (with Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D.) of The Vaccine-Friendly Plan: Dr. Paul’s Safe and Effective Approach to Immunity and Health—From Pregnancy Through Your Child’s Teen Years, which is forthcoming from Ballantine. Join the 66,000 other subscribers who follow Dr. Paul on YouTube or find him on Facebook. Learn more about autism for free at the Autism Summit, where Dr. Paul is one of the speakers: http://autismintensive.net