New Year's Resolutions SUCK: Chase Goals like a Protagonist
By: Payton Cowan
Begin Your Protagonist Journey:
With 2021 rapidly coming to an end, it is nearly that time of the year when many begin to think about what their “New Year's Resolutions” are going to be, to take their quality of life to the next level and improve themselves. Like Guts they keep moving forward or Deku never knowing when to quit, they want to improve. However, many people will chase these goals for the month of January, only to stop after the first month of work.
I used to be part of the group that stopped chasing their goals after a month. I would typically come up with the excuse “life got in the way”, or “I just lost motivation”. After telling myself these excuses for so many years, eventually I gave up on making resolutions for myself and decided to change my life for the better regardless of when I started.
The problem with a New Year's resolution is that it inherently procrastinates your goals to a certain date, and once they have been procrastinated for so long it becomes harder to motivate yourself to pursue them again with the same passion that you had for it before.
Procrastination, motivation and success are the biggest reason New Year's resolutions suck. Let's break that down and talk about why you should start TODAY with your goals.
Resolutions bonded to the first of every year inherently install procrastination as the foundation of your goals.
The equivalent is “I like the idea of this lifestyle, but I’ll wait until later to do it”.
The “I’ll do it later” mentality is a dangerous hole to succumb to in any respect of life, it implies that there is no uncertainty that in the future (on the first of the year) that you will begin your journey and stick with it. However, as most know, life is tricky - and the only certainty is the infinite amount of uncertainties that we deal with on a daily basis.
Therefore, relying on one day to start your goals in the future is a heavily inconsistent and non-optimal plan that will most likely lead to the further procrastination or abandonment of your goals.
Rather than planning a timeline on when you will start your goals, try writing a timeline on how you will obtain your goals, with the starting point being TODAY. If the goals that you want to obtain are so incredibly important, then starting today serves only to benefit you - it not only eliminates the procrastination step - but it also proves to yourself that you CAN take control of your life whenever you want.
Waiting for life to give you the “new start” that the new year gives you only expresses that you have no control over certain things in your life until it is allowed of it, which will inevitably lead to the mentality that life took away your ability to chase your goals, and that there was nothing you could do to control the situation.
Another theme that pairs with New Year’s resolutions is motivation - and the struggle to maintain it.
People who treat the first of the year as a complete renewal of their life often experience a high burst of motivation, because they are at the beginning of their pursuit of their goals and they are excited about the result they are chasing. However, those who value these resolutions are more often than not inspired by the result - rather than the journey it takes to get there.
Goals that are worth achieving do not come easily, rather, it takes a long and strenuous journey in order to reach them. Therefore, after the first month of their journey, oftentimes people realize their goals are going to be tough to achieve, and they are not seeing the massive results they are hoping for - so they give up.
Oftentimes people who experience this drop in motivation will ask “How do you conquer this lack of motivation?” or “How do I keep my motivation from ever dropping?”. The answer is easy, it is impossible to chase your goals with 100% enthusiasm and motivation every day. However, the solution is even easier: grit and determination.
The true determination of the fruits of your labor is the work ethic presented in times of low motivation. The people who take control of their life when they decide it is time for a change (which often is at a low point in their life) have shown themselves that even in their lowest hour they can decide to change their life, so why would they not keep moving when things get tough halfway through?
Motivation will drop and rise throughout your journey as life gets harder/easier, however as long as work ethic remains… the results will be the same.
To tie motivation and procrastination together, the resulting expectation is short term progress at an unrealistically rapid rate. People who do not want to start on their goals as soon as possible are generally the same people who want to achieve their *long* term goals with *short* term work.
Goals need to be set with the realistic expectation of length of attainability. Therefore, if the goals that you are wanting to achieve are accurately analyzed, then it becomes clear that starting as soon as possible is beneficial - especially if the goal is to improve quality of life.
I recommend creating a timeline which tracks how long it will take to *realistically* obtain the goal. From there, tracking which specific milestones that are important on that journey. Again, the concept of creating a timeline for how long it takes to achieve the goal is used - this is because when the focal point of starting your journey is the process that is ahead of you… rather than starting the process/the end goal it becomes easier to conceptualize the rate at which you are progressing.
The added bonus to conceptualizing your goals like this, is that motivation is more likely to stay high because you have an accurate expectation of progress during your pursuit - and your lack of procrastination gives you reaffirmation of control in your life.
Be the Protagonist:
Like Deku from My Hero Academia, we cannot wait every passing day for life to give us the ability to take control of our lives. Rather, we work every day in order to become strong/smarter/better until we can finally achieve our goals.
Furthermore, like Guts, we cannot quit when the goal is not achieved in the short term - rather we need to keep working until we have finally achieved the end product.
Procrastinating your goals to a certain day, which is expected to be the “magical” day that will change everything, is an inaccurate representation of the journey it takes to obtain a goal. If the goal is worth chasing, and you truly want to achieve it - I incline you to start TODAY, because every day not chasing something - is a wasted day.
Take that first step on your journey, go beyond plus ultra.
Hi! I’m Payton Cowan, I have been a part time powerlifting coach for 2 years now and I’ve been powerlifting for more than 4 years! I am a full time college student and a huge anime fan! My favorite anime of all time is either Violet Evergarden or Naruto.