New Year's Resolutions
The New Year has always been a time for looking back on the past and more importantly contemplating the future and the coming year. It is a time to reflect on the changes we want, or often need to make, to move forward.
The word “resolution” comes from “resolve” which means to make up one’s mind and to decide firmly. The end of a year is a time for clearing out so that we can make room for new things and to have a clean slate ready to start afresh. A New Year, a new beginning - it all sounds so powerful, promising and evocative, doesn’t it?
On New Year’s Day, you probably feel you have a genuine wish to make changes to your life. But what happens after a couple of weeks? Usually the resolve to change loses momentum and we continue in our old ways, eating the forbidden chocolates, smoking the cigarette or drinking that extra glass of wine. But we also feel guilty and despondent that our wish to change only lasted for a few days. Does this sound familiar?
Prepare for change
A good start is to self-reflect and ask yourself "What did I set out to do in the past year? Where did I make progress? Where didn't I make progress?" Keep being positive and use memories of last year's achievements as reminders of the good feelings when you accomplish something.
- Try not to make quick changes, gradual change is easier to achieve
- Make small achievable goals and build on small changes
- Allow yourself to make mistakes
Set a goal that motivates you. Often people feel pressurized to change because of a spouse, family or peer pressure. If you believe there is no value or benefit for you, achieving the goal will be difficult and it will probably be impossible to remain focussed and positive. So prioritize your goals and choose one resolution rather than multiple ones.
The resolution needs to be as clear as possible. For example, if you say you want to lose weight, determine by how much weight, and then make a plan on how you are going to achieve this.
Write down at least five things that you will need to do to achieve your goal. Be specific, stating actions which you and others will be able to see and hear you taking. From the list of things that you need to do, select and write down the ones you will do in the coming week to support the changes.
The desired goal must be achievable
One common error is to make the goals impossible to achieve. For example, if you return home late at night and feeling tired and plan to go to the gym or running a few nights a week, then the goal is likely to fail because you have over-committed yourself. The goal must be positive, realistic and provide a clear direction to action. It must provide new options for surviving and getting your needs met that is as least as good as the old troublesome ways. Breaking your chief goal into smaller "stepping stones" can be very helpful.
Find like-minded people to share your goals, achievements and set-backs and review regularly your progress. Write down the names of the people who will support you in these changes. There are Apps and social media groups to help you do this. If you deviate from your goals, get back on track quickly.
Changes for life
Instead of thinking about New Year’s Resolutions think about making changes that you want to make permanently and what steps you are prepared to do to achieve these changes. I know many people who want to change but when I ask them what they are prepared to do to effect these changes they often say they are not prepared to change their lives in such a way as to make these changes.
Achieving your goal will always involve some cost, This may be in terms of time, money, commitment and upheaval and saying goodbye to something or facing the scare of change. Examine what will this change cost you? Now that you have calculated the cost, do you still want to make a change?
The ultimate message of this article is “be a doer", take charge and take action and make plans to achieve your goals. There are a lot of people who know what’s right and what’s powerful but they only talk. It is not enough to talk. You have to take action. This is what unlimited power is all about.
My New Year wish to is that your hunt for human excellence is fruitful and never-ending. May you dedicate yourself, not only to strive for the goals you have set, but also to meet them and to love and give generously to yourself and to others.