Making new year resolutions - thoughts, ideas and my process
Posted by kathryn in Summer
I’ve been thinking a lot about new year resolutions recently – after all it’s that time of year. While I’ve noticed more and more articles and people poo-pooing the idea of new year resolutions, I actually like them.
While I realise many people break their resolutions quickly and most don’t last beyond January, I think that’s a problem with how we make new year resolutions, rather than with the concept itself.
Most resolutions have a big picture focus and are underminingly vague. If people make resolutions like “lose weight”, “get fit”, “quit smoking”, “get healthy” I’m not surprised they don’t last. Without boundaries, a defined plan and realistic sense of what’s possible a new year resolution is bound to fail.
It’s one of the things I’ve learnt with clients. Most clients come to me wanting to “eat well and be healthy”, which seems fair enough. However, for this to happen and for our relationship and meetings to be a success, we have to work out exactly what eating well and health means for them.
I’ve been making new year resolutions for years now. Some don’t work, but many do. Some I discard early, realising they’re not right for me, but many become part of the year ahead. Ideas to live by and a focus for the person I want to be.
This is my way of making resolutions. It’s not a hard and fast process and it may not be right for you, however it works for me:
- I spend the whole of January thinking about my new year resolutions. Rather than making them in a rush of impulsiveness on 1 January, I take some time to consider what I really want for the year ahead.
- I don’t just concentrate on one aspect of my life, instead I think about work, health, food, finances, career, professional development, my personal relationships. I try to work out what I want to happen in each of those areas.
- I try to be specific about what I want. For example, rather than saying “get fitter” I think about exactly what that means for me. What would being fitter feel like for me, how would I know when I was fitter? Is there a way I can test my fitness during the year?
- I make a plan which concentrates on behaviour changes. If I want to realise each of those resolutions, how do I make it happen.
- I write all this down and then leave it for a week. I allow myself a week to mull over the ideas and think about whether they’re right and going to work. I then tweak and change my plans accordingly.
- Most importantly, I then write everything in the back of my diary. I carry my diary with me everywhere, so I also have my new year resolutions with me all the time. Which means I regularly review my plans and remain focussed over the year.
The 2012 process has already started. I have notes scrawled in my diary and on scraps of paper dotted around my desk. Thoughts and possibilities I’ve jotted down which might eventually make my new year resolution list.
For me, new year resolutions are part of growing and developing as a person. They’re a way of making changes to my life – discarding the stuff that doesn’t help and taking on new projects, activities, ways of working and being. It’s a process I find both exciting and invaluable.