It’s the first full week of January, and a lot of people are attempting to make positive changes in their lives. How could this possibly be a bad thing?
Well, that depends on who you’re asking, apparently.
Over the past decade I’ve seen resolutions get shat on repeatedly by people (including coaches and professionals) who say things like ‘resolutions are rubbish, set new year GOALS instead’, or the more recent buzzword: ‘intentions’.
For fuck’s sake guys, this isn’t a competition in semantics, you’re supposed to be helping support people in their change, not ridicule them.
IT’S THE SAME THING.
Resolutions are defined as ‘a firm decision to do or not do something’.
That’s it. What’s your problem with making a firm decision?
In fact, resolutions are far better than goals, because they deal with actions rather than wishy washy possible end-points. Goals are great, but without resolutions they will never be achieved.
The issue with New Year’s resolutions (hereafter referred to as NYRs) is not in the act of making resolutions, but rather what’s behind it and how they are set.
Often the motivation behind NYRs is societal pressure. You SHOULD lose weight, you SHOULD earn more, you SHOULD find a partner and settle down etc etc.
As for how they are set, we tend to try and change too much in one go. Going on a restrictive diet, going to the gym 6x per week, quitting smoking, phoning mum every evening… it’s just never going to last with the amount of energy and motivation it takes to do each of those things, never mind all of them at once.
To fix these two issues, and set ourselves up for success this year, we need to do two things:
Set our goals and plans based on what is important to us, not society. What do you want? I mean, REALLY want? What would bring more joy and purpose to your life? What would you love your typical days to be like? How would you like to show up for your family, friends, colleagues, clients? Sack off the usual crap that other people say you should do, and reconnect with your own values and priorities.
Change a small number of very simple things at a time. Instead of making all our resolutions once per year, make 3-4 small, specific resolutions every four weeks throughout the year (think ‘drink a glass of water upon waking’ rather than ‘drink more water’ or ‘drink 3L of water per day). This will result in 39-52 changes made by the end of the 12 months. Wouldn’t that be more transformational than trying to make 15 massive changes in one go, failing by February, and being back in the same starting position again at the end of the year?
By making these two changes to the way you do things, you’ll find that your NYRs are really just ‘January resolutions’, and you only have 3-4 of them. Focus on these, and then reassess in four weeks for your ‘February resolutions’. If you need to keep focusing on some of the same ones, great. If they have started to become automatic then pick some more to focus on.
What NYRs did you set? How could you break them down into simple, specific behaviours, and which 3-4 are you going to focus on this month?
Are you one of the pricks who thinks resolutions are lame? Come at me in the comments, I’m ready (I love you really, you know that)