Dec 31

Before you make that New Years resolution…

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Before you make that New Years resolution…

If you need to make meaningful change in your life, why aren’t you doing it already?

At this time of year, the answer is often related to the fact that people have time off and are able to reconnect with the people in their lives in a more meaningful way. Perspective gained during time away from work leaves them determined to make changes or to seek more fulfilment in their day to day lives. What often follows is a ‘commitment’ to do things differently – more commonly known as the New Years resolution at this time of year.

What is wrong with resolutions?

Readers of my previous New Year blogs will realise that I am not a great supporter of such resolutions:

  • They are more of a social construct than a personal one, with people “expected” to have resolutions.
  • They are often unrealistic. You didn’t go to the gym at all in 2017, so deciding you’ll go to the gym 3 times a week in 2018 stretches credulity.
  • You had a great resolution last year, but didn’t stick to it, so you have a track record of failure in this respect, nothing has materially changed, so
    why is this year going to be any different?

Resolutions are often ridiculed – my local radio station has been inviting views to contact them so that they can be allocated a resolution – the presenters spin a wheel and depending on the number the wheel stops on, that is your supposed resolution. I suspect that in the coming weeks, listeners will be harangued for failing to keep them.

So, coming back to my opening comment, if the goal was that important to you, wouldn’t you be committed to it already? It might be that you want to improve your health and well being, change jobs, volunteer or take up a new interest.

Take a different approach

Perhaps people should start thinking differently about resolutions and take an entirely different approach? For example, Richard Branson in one of his New Year posts suggests that:

Happiness shouldn’t be a goal it should be a habit.

He states that one of his great lessons in life was not to be goal driven, but to be more focused on being happy. Success followed happiness as he didn’t feel caught up in doing things he though ought to make him happy – things that are so often enshrined in resolutions.

Looking around at other motivational writers, it doesn’t appear to be an accident that most of them don’t make resolutions but instead comment on how changing their attitude to life changed their expectations and outcomes more positively than any goal would have done. So have you thought that instead of making a resolution you should change your mindset instead? With a different approach to life, you are not constrained by the boundaries of artificial goals and resolutions or what you know now, which enables you to realise (and enjoy) things that are outside your current field of view.

That is not to say that personal reflection at Christmas isn’t a valuable stock take on life. One that we ought to take note of and act upon. As Branson says:

you still need the to-do list, just don’t forget to have a to-be list as well

The things that are on you to-be list are much more likely to result in more meaningful life changes.

If you still believe you have to make a resolution…

So, if you still feel you have to make a resolution, make sure it is something meaningful for you and you can really commit to. Set realistic goals which are achievable and where accomplishing them will motivate you to carry on and not give up.

If you need some help with yur goals, why nt ask a coach? At Westwood Coachinbg we are adept at helping our clients to #ChangeSomething or #StartSomething. Ambition for happiness or success should be a lifelong aim, not just for New Years…

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