Classically, at the turn of the year, many good intentions are always made for the new year: You want to quit smoking, go to the gym every day, eat healthier food, learn more or work more productively, scold your children less or simply become a better person. However, these plans often arise from social paradigms, which in many cases do not coincide with personal priorities and goals.
Every year anew - New Year's intentions often have a short lifetime
There are already all good intentions; you have known them for years and each time you pick out from the list of good intentions those that seem most urgent to you. Right on January 2nd - after having recovered from the long New Year's Eve the day before - you start. Highly motivated, you go to the next gym, where you work out and are proud that you have finally made it to the sport and that the new year will be much healthier. Most of the time this eagerness lasts for a few days or even weeks until the daily routine catches up with the routines you have acquired over the years. In the end, good intentions often fall by the wayside. But why do we fail so often and what are the solutions?
Reason #1: Social standards
The good intentions are not our own, but were determined by society. The classic list of good New Year's intentions contains many things that sound nice in wishful thinking, but in fact the personal reference to them is missing. Do I want to lose weight, look muscular and beautiful because I see people in the media who represent an ideal of society? Or is it really about goals that I strive for out of personal intentions and priorities? This should indeed be reflected more precisely in the first place.
If social contacts are the top priority for someone and it is important for the well-being of the person to always have a beer with colleagues after work or to go to the kebab stand next door at lunchtime, then the chance is relatively small that this person will give healthy eating a high priority in the long term. Someone else, on the other hand, will scale health to the top or second highest position and social contacts will only come afterwards. In this case, the personal relationship is much closer to the goal of healthy eating.
The solution here is to be honest with yourself and to find out where your priorities lie and then to say goodbye to illusions and social paradigms. In this way realistic intentions can then be established.
Reason #2: The "why" is missing
Closely linked to the first point is the why, which many people often do not realize when they look at the list of good intentions. Why do people want to lose weight? Why do you want to stop smoking? Why do you want to perform better or learn more? Here it also becomes clear quite quickly whether the personal values of #1 really correspond to their own priorities. If someone cares about enough time with friends and free weekends and on time at the end of the day, then it becomes difficult to find the why for more performance at work. In many cases, however, it is precisely by asking about the motives that one can establish the link to personal goals:
Suppose the good New Year's intention you've chosen focuses on a healthy diet with more exercise. If you are now looking for the why, it is not enough to just suck an "I want to live healthier" out of your fingers. It is much more important to find out what the concrete benefits of the changes are. These must be linked to the values that are most important to you. If the family comes first, then you can say that you want to grow old with your children, be able to teach them sports, be a role model and remain attractive for your partner. For someone, the why is perhaps to be attractive in order to find a partner at all. For someone else, career is the most important thing. In this case, a healthy lifestyle can be combined with more efficiency and concentration at work.
Reason #3: Concrete long-term and short-term goals are missing
Good intentions should not be confused with tangible goals. While intentions tend to be equated with good deeds, the goal is about what you actually want to achieve. The goals must be measurable and realistic. If someone wants to be fitter and healthier, it is not enough to say "I want to feel better in half a year", but rather tools such as body fat measurements, blood values at the doctor or a sporting goal should make the whole thing reliable, valid and objectively measurable. If somebody wants to do more at work, he or she should follow these criteria. With self-employment, this can be measured, for example, in terms of financial gain or new customers.
In addition, there is the differentiation between short-term and long-term goals. It is best to set the long-term goal first, which at first seems very far away and perhaps still somewhat unrealistic. You could say to yourself "in one year I want to go from 20% to 10% body fat" or "in one year my company has made twice as much profit as in the previous year". Then you can set small partial goals: "in one month I will have 1% less body fat" or "in one month I will make amount X of profit".
It is also always important to set precise dates, as this makes the targets even more binding.
Reason #4: The implementation plan is missing - the necessary To Do's were not defined
Often people say they know that they have to do something for their goals. Yet they do not act according to this principle. In many cases, this is due to a lack of good planning. "If you're fail to plan you planning to fail". This quote from Benjamin Franklin explains exactly what happens: Without planning things optimally, you plan to fail almost unconsciously.
A good plan contains the appropriate To Do's for the personal goal. These should also be as concrete as possible. If you want to become slimmer and fitter, you can add the following To Do's to your list:
1. I go to the gym 3 times a week!
2. I no longer eat sugar!
3. I eat vegetables 3x a day!
The list can of course go on, but here too it makes sense to set new To Do's step by step for the smaller sub-goals. With too many To Do's you will be overstrained, and the motivation will be gone quickly. In this way, you can also achieve a lasting change in routines, so that less discipline is required over time and many things simply run automatically.
Reason #5: The intentions are only determined on the basis of the turn of the yearThe timing is often chosen for the wrong reasons. If the goal or intention is for the wrong reasons, as described above, then there is a high chance that it is a temporary thing that will quickly disappear again in the daily routine. However, if the goal has been on the personal list for a long time, there is no reason not to tackle it as a New Year's intention. Nevertheless, all other points that have already been discussed should be taken into account. Perhaps you have already spent the last few months working on a goal and in January something will change in your life anyway, then a new start with good intentions in the form of concrete goals is definitely recommended. However, a goal can also be set at any time during the year and realized with the necessary To Do's.
Conclusion: Annual intentions can be better visualized and realized as personal goals
New Year's intentions only make sense if they meet certain criteria: On the one hand, they must be formulated as individually tailored goals that actually correspond to the values that are a high priority for you. These goals should be clearly defined with measurable values. On the other hand, the "why" must be consciously noted down and called up again and again so that the necessary "to do's" are actually carried out. A good intention should not be determined on the basis of societal norms or because of the turn of the year but should be well considered in the long term and broken down into small, realistic sub-goals. And finally: Take action every day!