Today is January 4, 2012, and I sent an email today to my email subscribers asking them two simple questions:
- What is your #1 New Years Resolution this year?
- Have you achieved your New Years Resolutions in the past?
I asked people to just hit ‘reply’ and send in an email to let me know the short answers to these questions. On other occasions, I have used ‘survey software’, which makes it easy to tabulate and summarize responses, but this time, I thought if people just had to hit ‘reply’ in their email, then they’d be more likely to respond.
And did you ever respond!
In the first 8 hours after the email was sent – I received 153 email responses!
I am appreciative, honored, and touched by the emails sent. I wanted to summarize some of the comments and issues which came forward.
First, I’d like to give you some background.
The Issue With New Year’s Resolutions:
Every January 1st, many people ‘resolve’ to improve things in their lives. The gyms are full, the diet clinics are doing brisk business, and people plan to change their lives.
And by Valentine’s day (or maybe even by January 7th?), the resolutions are gone, forgotten, and things are back to ‘normal’.
And when it comes to people with ADD/ADHD, it can be very hard to make and keep resolutions. The symptoms of ADD/ADHD include poor focus, distractibility, impulsivity, etc. And, many people with ADD/ADHD have executive functioning difficulties. One executive function is: goal directed persistence! If everyone in society has trouble with keeping resolutions, how easy is it going to be for people who have trouble with ‘goal directed persistence’?!
And when it comes to family members who care for their loved ones with ADD/ADHD, they often get so burned out by their daily support and advocacy that it can be hard to focus on themselves…
So, with all of the odds against us here, why did I want to talk about New Year’s Resolutions?
It is my personal belief that we need to continuously strive for improvement. We need to evaluate where we are, and continuously set goals to reach the next step.
And not everyone agrees with me… BUT on New Year’s – this is a chance when everyone is considering New Year’s Resolutions. Many people are thinking about setting goals, and they want to achieve them.
I view this as a chance to help you – if you want it.
Your Responses To My Email Questions:
154 emails in the first 8 hours!
The first 80 or so got personal responses, and then I had to just read the emails, because I was running out of time.
I did read every email, and let me say this:
I am very touched and appreciative to each and every one of you who wrote in (and if you respond after this post goes live, I will happily read your email as well!)
As I was reading your emails, I realized that when you wrote in, you were letting me in to your hopes, dreams, and sometimes wounds (from previous hopes and dreams which didn’t go well). I was touched and honored that you were kind enough to share this very personal information with me. And I don’t take it lightly.
In my email to you, I wrote the list of the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions according to About.com. They are:
1. Spend More Time with Family & Friends
2. Fit in Fitness
3. Tame the Bulge
4. Quit Smoking
5. Enjoy Life More
6. Quit Drinking
7. Get Out of Debt
8. Learn Something New
9. Help Others
10. Get Organized
But I wanted to know what your top resolutions were.
While this isn’t an official ‘tally’, here are some of the top themes which came up over and over again when you wrote in your #1 New Year’s Resolution:
- Have more patience (with my ADHD child, spouse, or with myself)
- Declutter, and get organized
- Lose weight/gain health
- Spend more time with friends/better connection with family
- Save more money/spend less/earn more
- (I resolve to) Not make any more resolutions because I always let myself down
- I don’t make resolutions, I work on year round improvement
When it came to the question of “have you been successful with resolutions in the past?”, the answer was a resounding “No”. Though there was a (powerful) minority who have been partially or fully successful in the past with resolutions.
There were several emails which I’d like to quote:
Regarding question 1: What is your #1 New Years Resolution this year?
John said: For the first time, to set goals for myself.
N. said: This year number one is : Take care of myself FIRST.
A humorous response: Marvin wrote: I’m a 70 year old who was diagnosed with ADHD almost 20 years ago. I have had the same resolution for several years and am one of the few people I know who has consistently been successful in keeping theirs: No new tattoos. (Of course I don’t have any old tattoos).
Regarding Question #2: Have you achieved your new years resolutions in the past?
Suzy said: (I don’t achieve my resolutions because) Like you said…..I don’t persevere. Top resolution should be to be more self disciplined…..that would take care of a lot!!
Kay wrote: No it is the same each year, the list is the same…. same goals, same ending.
Psalm says: Resolutions are rather intimidating to me. I prefer to think of goals, such as small, incremental, attainable goals.
Jennifer: I have not always achieved my resolutions but I have when I am very specific with the goal.
N. wrote: Yes, I achieve them because I type them up and paste them inside my wallet, checkbook, reading material etc and post them where I will see and be reminded of them every day plus I announce them to my inner circle for support.
Of course, as you can see – your wisdom came through in the emails. As you were sharing your comments, many of you revealed the answers to success with setting and achieving goals and New Year’s Resolutions.
And remembering the importance of the fact that we are in the area of mental health, there were some emails which were very personal, and acknowledged how hard things can be for people. Here is one example:
As J. wrote: My New Years resolution is to learn to live with ADD and all it brings, to fight the bully at work who constantly yells at me and to not commit suicide because of my poor self-image. Have I achieved my past new year’s goals? No, of course not.
Of course, I personally emailed J., and encouraged a visit to the doctor and/or therapist to work on J’s issues and challenges. (Our thoughts and prayers are with you, J!)
After reading 154 emails with people’s hopes, dreams, wounds and fears, I reiterate that I was personally touched and honored that you shared all that you did.
In the next few days, I’ll be sharing some thoughts and ideas for your on how to do well with your New Year’s Resolutions this year. Your emails have motivated me a lot to make sure to give you some helpful tips and strategies.
I’ll wrap up with this:
Jamie wrote: “Thanks…just curious…what were yours?”
When it comes to resolutions, I do take the time to review the past year, take stock, and look forward to the new year, and I do set goals. I set specific, measurable goals, with deadlines on them (3 month, 6 month, 9 month, 12 month) – and my goals are written down.
My three main goals (or goal categories) this year are:
- Family: Support my family more and increase my connection with them
- Health: Improve my health and well-being
- Finances: Improve my business and financial well-being
Thanks again, and watch for more updates in the coming days.
p.s. please share your thoughts and comments below in the comments section…