So Christmas is now out of the way and a new year has just begun… A time to start afresh and many will have made New Year’s resolutions. We often all start off with the best intentions but then fall off the wagon in a jiffy and end up giving up on the whole thing.
I personally decided not to have any New Year’s resolutions a few years ago, as I found the pressure I was putting myself to achieve whatever I had set myself to do too much, and I was therefore doomed to fail. The truth is that I am not alone to fall in that category. In fact, 63% of UK adults failed to keep a New Year’s resolution and the majority (66%) admitted to doing so within a month (according to The Guardian newspaper), whilst in the States, less than 10% of people felt they were successful in achieving their resolutions (www.statisticbrain.com).
The reality is that most New Year’s resolutions don’t last. It’s a bit like one of those ‘to do’ lists with so many things to tick that we are never going to cross half of it off. We set ourselves unrealistic goals and then get annoyed or disappointed when we don’t achieve them. In a sense, we have basically failed before we’ve even started.
First of all, why do we need the feel to change just because it’s a new year? Yes, a new year is like a blank piece of paper and it gives us the impression of starting afresh but why do you need a new you? What is so wrong with who you are at the moment that you want something else? Self-improvement should be encouraged but all too often, we think that by changing one or more elements of our lives, it will make us a happier or better person. And in a way, we couldn’t be more wrong.
The truth is that resolutions have a negative connotation and we try to change one of the symptoms of deeper rooted issues as opposed to the real problem. We hardly scratch the surface at all and only try to tackle what we perceive it to be, instead of have facing up to the actual source of the concern.
The first thing to do is to ask yourself the right questions to find the cause. So whether you want to give up wine or eat more healthily for instance, why do you currently rely on drink and food as a crutch? What makes you reach for the glass or the chocolate? If you are unhappy in your relationship, or want to meet a partner, why are you really in this situation? Look at yourself and think of what would you like to have happen by the end of this year, as well as what may have prevented you to achieve it in the past. Look at what you can do differently and what realistic steps you can put in place.
People who explicitly set themselves a goal are 10 times more likely to achieve it but to me, it shouldn’t be in the form of a New Year’s resolution. It should be a genuine will to change an aspect of your life and understand why it currently is the way it is. Then reframe the way you look at it, the words that you use when you talk about it – to yourself or others – and attack it from a different perspective.
So if you have made any resolutions, review where you are at, make a constructive plan and find new ways of how you can achieve the outcome that you truly want. It’s not too late to make it happen…