What Generations Really Think about Making and Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

I am Cheating on Generation Z

I feel like I am cheating on Generation Z.  I am writing as a guest blogger on behalf of Generation X for another blog, GAIA Insights, which is a global generational consulting firm whom I frequently work with. But to be an expert in one generation, we need to understand related generations, for Gen Z it’s Gen Y and Gen X, because each generation behaves so differently yet affects each other immensely.  Thus, my decision to cheat is really a way to gain deeper insights into why Gen Z behaves today, and what their professional landscape will look like in the near future. This series for GAIA Insights focuses on topics in the workplace, comparing the perks and the quirks of Gen Y vs. Gen X.  Here is January’s topic, New Year’s Resolutions, and how Gen X and Gen Y approach keeping resolutions.

Do Gen X and Gen Y make different kinds of New Year’s Resolutions? Hell yes…

Kicking off 2015, with all the annual buzz about New Year’s resolutions going on, the GAIA Blog team wondered if all generations were equally drawn to making resolutions and whether different generations would typically come up with different kinds of resolutions. So we decided to explore this in our blog… From a Generation X Perspective As we clinked and sipped Verve Clicquot champagne in barely used wedding gifted Waterford, most of Gen X didn’t party all night to celebrate a new year.  Instead, we got out our iPads and just like a child checks their list twice for Santa, we checked our list of resolutions twice, at least twice (Gen X is so thorough).  Some of our resolutions look like this:

“Get a promotion – Find a new job – Work less, play more – Get a second job? – Lose the middle age gut – Get a hobby – Drink less or not at all for X days – Spend more time with family – Cook healthier meals for dinner – Drive more carefully – Take a digital detox, etc. …”

Well it’s been over 30 days since we kicked off 2015, 30 days since we made our New Year’s resolutions.  It’s widely believed that behaviors can be changed in 21 to 30 days, but more recent research says it takes 66 days on average. Bummer. The important question is this:  did anyone keep up with their resolutions for the first 30 days? Is anyone ABLE to keep them? Does anyone have TIME to keep them? We are Burning the Minivan Rubber For some it’s a challenge to keep resolutions, especially for Gen X because we are already struggling to keep up, most completely “maxed out”, juggling our overly demanding jobs with our overly scheduled lives.  We work willingly around the clock to get promoted, burn the midnight oil and burn the minivan rubber, all to support our college-bound children, pay the rising mortgage, and care for aging parents.  So when we feel time’s pressure to take on just one more commitment, we choose carefully. Personally, as a semi-disciplined creative, I love to list ways that I can change myself or change my life for the better. Aah the excitement, the endless opportunities!  But I made so many resolutions on that list that I forgot what they are. Besides, don’t we have enough resolutions already, ones that we do daily to fulfill the overflowing bucket of commitments we have to everyone else? I think so. Generation X is Starting to Turn 50! 2015 is a meaningful year for Gen X because first, we begin to turn 50 and secondly, THIS could be the year Boomers move out of the corner offices and we move into better corporate positions.  The big “50” makes us realize that our intensely fulfilling yet draining commitments to everyone else but ourselves are catching up with us.  We take a freeze-frame of our life, no longer believing we are young because we have kids in middle school and some still have hair. But this shocking revelation encourages us to tweek our lives because now’s our last chance! Gen X has been very successful fulfilling work and family commitments, yet we often let others know, through hiding, spacing or scowling, how tapped out we are.  Not good for the office image. Here are three tips for Gen X on how to keep your resolutions, Gen X style: 1. Choose resolutions that are sensible, attainable and practical because we are not frivolous or materialistic. A popular example expressed by Gen Xers is something like losing 10 pounds by their 50th birthday. Note that there is a specific number attached to a specific day. How many pounds is that per month, per week? 2. Choose resolutions that will make your life easier, not more complicated. Positive results reaffirm the resolution.  For example, a friend’s resolution was to find a job closer to home and with laser-focus determination in January, she did! 3. Use social media to help you keep your resolutions. There are online groups and Apps like Dryology for those who want to stop drinking for 30 days, or Breeze to help you get fit, or Diaro to journal your attempts. Back to my resolutions, which I found on my laptop in a new App my Gen Z son found for me.  I have 10 resolutions on my list BUT I plan to pick two that meet the above criteria and two that I can actually keep. And I am working on both of them:  write more, weigh less.  Maybe if I create a bumper sticker for my resolutions, I’ll remember to work on them. Happy New Year




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