I hate New Year’s resolutions. They are the adult equivalent to children sitting on a mall Santa’s lap at Christmas.
The problem is not so much with the idea of setting realistic goals and establishing what your true hopes are going forward. The issue lies in how you go about it. Most people tend to become idealists on December 31st, or they argue for why they do not need to do anything differently in the new year. Chances are they do, its just not realistic in the New Year’s fashion. So how does a resolution become a case of wishful thinking?
Wishful thinking is based on an idealistic sense of reality. In other words, you may not have a solid grasp on the story you are currently living in. When this happens, we create a fairy tale based on what might be nice to have, but unattainable because it does not have any natural or logical connection to the truth in life. This sets us up for huge let downs when we reach the gap between what we can accomplish and the steps needed to get to the star we wished upon.
Wishful thinking normally sets unrealistic goals. SMART goals are referred to in this way because they are smart. They generally are not supposed to be lofty or visionary. They are simple, realistic, achievable, and within a time frame we can see within our current horizon. That means we are already doing something in the present that points in the direction of those goals, otherwise they are just lofty wishes.
Wishful thinking does not like its owner. We wish when we need a change or that a move is necessary. But that does not mean the move will make you happy with yourself or who you are when there is no one around to cheer you on. So many people set their resolutions based on changing themselves by doing something external or dreaming of a change of circumstances. But this is not a true facing of the person within. If we are not willing to do the hard work of transformation from the inside out, our resolutions become wishful thinking.
So go on, set some lofty goals, dream big, and have fun talking about what you would like to see happen in the new year with your friends. But do not look to 2017 with rose coloured glasses, and definitely do not settle with taking no steps towards transformative work in yourself.