About now in January is usually the graveyard for all those New Years resolutions. Two or three weeks in and the motivation has gone, the best intentions have slipped, the boxes of chocolates may have found their way back into view, and it makes sense to finish off the Christmas cake and all other supplies.
Although the New Year is a chance for a great restart and to set some intentions, maybe, by delaying the resolutions, and making the conditions right will bring the best chance of success.
Who am I making a resolution for?
Tom and I were chatting about this on our weekly podcast Escaping the Bucket (you can listen to it on itunes and Spotify) and came to the conclusion, that quite often we are encouraged to take on other people’s resolutions – maybe joining them without our own real passion, or just making a resolution because we don’t want to feel left out, even pressured to join “everyone else has one so I should as well”.
In 2019, I attended a January Kick Start workshop in Dundee – it was a logistical nightmare to get to and from Cornwall within a couple of days, but it was a superb experience. At the end of day, we were asked to write down around five statements which we wanted to be able to say about ourselves the same time next year. Our statements were sealed in a self-addressed envelope, and handed in to the organiser. Imagine my delight (I had forgotten by then) the following January when my 2019 Mission Statement landed on the doormat, and I had the chance to see how true my statement was (I have to admit, not everything was true, but it gave me the drive to repeat the exercise).
How to set a resolution which might work
Here’s how it worked :
- Choose some key areas in your life where you would like to make an impact, and will enhance your happiness.
- Identify what you would like to say about yourself on the 31st January 2022
- Understand what that would mean for you, and how it would feel (say it out loud now)
- State how you achieved it
- Build the strategy backwards to reach that actualisation.
What sort of areas should I consider?
Typical areas which many people include are :
- Physical health
- Mental health
- Professional or business
- Finance (saving or debt repayment)
- Hobbies (this is a key one to make time for)
- Commitment and Freedom blend (previously known as work-life-balance)
How should my resolution statement look?
Taking physical health as an example, the statement would read something like this (remember it is January 2022) :
“I am physically in great shape, I weigh 70 kg and all my new clothes fit me so well. I feel more confident and happy in myself, and no longer feel self conscious. I am also very happy that I don’t have post Christmas body gloom. I have achieved this by subscribing to Joe Wicks Body Coach 90 Day Challenge, and being disciplined by exercising 5 days a week, and sticking to the meal plan 90% of the time throughout the year”
The key with any goal, aspiration or change of behaviour is to look at the big picture, then break it down in to quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily habits.
Sadly, will power often won’t be enough, especially with cupboards full of temptations, so perhaps give yourself a break, find the right actions to meet your own aspirations, not those of anyone else, and start when the conditions are best.
Imagine even being able to truthfully say half of those statements this time next year – how good would that feel?
– Jeremy Squibb and Tom Desborough