Do you believe in formulating annual goals or drafting a couple “New Year’s Resolutions?”
THE STATS DON’T LIE
Every year around this time, the web highlights many so-called experts touting the benefits of making personal improvement plans… and is just as quick to admonish us for breaking them. The statistics are not encouraging:
Success/Failure rates over the first 6 months
- Of those who make a New Year’s resolution, after 1 week, 75% are still successful in keeping it.
- After two weeks, the number drops to 71%.
- After 1 month, the number drops again to 64%.
- And after 6 months, 46% of people who make a resolution are still successful in keeping it.
- In comparison, of those people who have similar goals but do not set a resolution, only 4% are still successful after 6 months.
Overall success/failure rates
- According to a 2016 study, of the 41% of Americans who make New Years resolutions, by the end of the year only 9% feel they are successful in keeping them.
- An earlier study in 2007 showed that 12% of people who set resolutions are successful even though 52% of the participants were confident of success at the beginning.
Reasons for failure
- In one 2014 study, 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions said they had unrealistic goals.
- 33% of participants who failed didn’t keep track of their progress.
- 23% forgot about their resolutions.
- About one in 10 people who failed said they made too many resolutions.
Of course, it does not have to be this way! Last year, yours truly made a promise to “practice what music teachers preach” and “make meaningful music” at least a little every day on his instrument. How did it go? Success! I made it to the middle of July without missing a day (until I sprained my left hand). But the goal led me to playing better than I have for decades, more self-confidence, a lot of fun polishing off movements from my favorite sonatas and concertos, and even the purchase of a new viola. Now? It is time for me to find a tuba, dive into my past “brass flame,” and join a community band!
As we succeed in everything else for our lives, the process of setting aside time to analyze our personal pathways, assessing our needs, and making new goals is healthy. For the eternal pursuit of happiness and self-fulfillment in retirement, I found these secrets to a ”winning” set of New Year’s Resolutions in the “Top-10 List” by the UAB School of Medicine:
- Start with specific micro-goals. (Keep them small, simple, and easy to accomplish.)
- Set resolutions for the right reasons. (Choose what is important to you, not someone else’s expectations.)
- Document your progress. (Write it down.)
- Practice patience and forgiveness. (No one is perfect. Just keep at it despite the curve balls thrown at you.)
- Schedule time to achieve goals. (Dedicate the necessary resolve and resources to accomplish them.)
- Embrace the buddy system. (Share in collaborating on group goals. You don’t have to achieve them alone!)
- Consider your budget. (Finances may play a role. Stay within your means.)
- Slow down and meditate. (Breathe, refocus, and be mindful.)
- Reward yourself for achievements. (No matter how big or small, treat yourself for reaching your targets.)
- Ask others to keep you accountable. (Publicize your intentions. They might help you achieve your goals.)
You probably do not need someone to suggest things-to-do in 2022 or ways to self-improve. Effective goals and action plans must come from within yourself. However, there are countless advisors “out there” offering ideas to motivate you:
- Keep a Positive Mindset
- Commit to at least 10 Minutes of Exercise Daily
- Make Better Dietary Choices
- Stay Young-at-Heart – Surround Yourself with Young People
- Stimulate Your Mind
- Get Enough Sleep
- Reach Out to Old Friends and Make New Ones
- Kick Your Bad Habits
- Maintain Your Purpose in Life as You Age
- Give Back – Explore New Volunteer Opportunities
— Example sites: https://www.luthermanor.org/new-years-resolutions-for-seniors/ and https://www.healthinaging.org/tools-and-tips/tip-sheet-top-10-healthy-new-years-resolutions-older-adults
ENGAGEMENT, ADVOCACY, & ASSOCIATION IN MUSIC EDUCATION
Modeling PROFESSIONALISM, these terms promote the power of “collaboration” and connections among music education colleagues and stakeholders (music students, parents, and the general public). To foster a broader picture and devise “bigger than self” New Year’s Resolutions, we should embrace forming partnerships throughout our pre-service, in-service, and retirement years with enhanced goals of active engagement, advocacy, and support of our professional associations.
In many past blog posts here and articles in PMEA News, Retired Member Network eNEWS, and NAfME Music in a Minuet, we have addressed ways that retirees can share their awesome “musical gifts,” know-how, and perspective to promote creative self-expression. If you are looking to adopt a 2022 New Year’s Resolution to “make a difference” in the music education profession, revisit this free archive here: https://www.pmea.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/PMEA-Retired-Member-Network-eNEWS-s090721.pdf and also peruse this link: https://paulfox.blog/2021/11/10/giving-back-to-the-association/.
On a personal note, besides getting back to my viola practice and resuming my love of playing the tuba, I resolve to continue a focus on “giving back” whenever possible to my local community, PMEA, and the music education profession. How will I do this in 2022? By bestowing the gifts of SERVICE:
- Chair of the PMEA Council for Teacher Training, Recruitment, and Retention
- Coordinator of PMEA Retired Members
- Artistic Director of the South Hills Junior Orchestra
- Trustee and Communications Director of the Community Foundation of Upper St. Clair
- Volunteer Escort for the St. Clair Health
- Author, clinician, and workshop presenter on the topics of educator ethics, interviewing and job search, professional standards, retirement, and self-care
Additional blog posts on the topic of New Year’s Resolutions and helping others in retirement:
© 2021 Paul K. Fox
iStockphoto.com graphic: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year by Tasha Art