Talkin’ About Your Resolution

A new year can just as easily start in mid-autumn as any other day

At the end of each year, millions of people make ‘resolutions’ for the New Year. A list of the things they want to do or not do over the next 12 months, things that they believe will make them happier, more successful or make their life better. The common ones seen shared on social media are around:

Health: quit smoking, start exercising, lose weight

Money: earn more, spend less, build wealth

Time: use it more effectively, spend more with friends or family, allocate some to the fun stuff

Relationships: begin them, mend them or end them

Travel: see new places, meet new people, learn a new language

Work: get a promotion, learn new skills, start own business

The list is endless….yet, more often than not, it ends before it even begins.

So, what is a ‘resolution’ exactly? Dictionary.com tells us it is a noun, with 2 meanings

  1. a firm decision to do or not to do something
  2. the quality of being determined or resolute

It also suggests some synonyms, such as: intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, aspiration, design, purpose, object, plan, commitment, pledge, promise, undertaking

Why do we make resolutions at New Year? Since ancient times, people have pledged to gods and the universe, that they would do or not do something. In the time of the Babylonians, celebrations were held in honour of the New Year, though not the one we recognise. The New Year was when the crops were planted, and promises were made with the belief that fulfilment of the promises would be favourable and yield a good crop.

Make time for reflection

Today is May Day, the 1st Monday in May. It also happens to be the first day of May this year…so exactly 4 months of 2017 have already been lived. A third of the year has been and gone, so it is a perfect time to reflect on whether those resolutions are having the desired impact on your life. Have you followed through on your firm decisions, have you displayed the quality of being determined?

Have purpose

The act of making a resolution list is fun, you feel like you are in control of your destiny, that you are organised and have a renewed purpose. However making a list of things you want to do or not do isn’t always enough…if these things were easy, you would have been doing them already and wouldn’t need to have added them to a list of intentions. Do you understand why you felt they were something you needed to resolve to do or not do, or did they just seem like a list of things you had or had not been doing, that social media, television, celebrities and your friends say they are or are not doing now, and you felt like they should be important to you too?

Design an implementation strategy

In order to introduce a new activity or behaviour in your life, either as a one off or on a regular basis, it helps to break it down into smaller parts, so you can easily identify the steps involved and recognise the support you will need to make it happen…it is also really important to discover the real reason/s why you haven’t been doing it (at all or consistently) before today and develop a plan for what needs to change in that respect. What are you willing to swap in your current week, that will allow room for the required actions to occur?

Recognise and Reward

Recognising small steps and progress are very importance. When creating a plan, having small measurable milestones will keep you motivated and ultimately help you to reach the end goal. This can be as simple as creating a chart that you can tick off the levels as you go, with a reward on offer when you reach the designated milestones. Be sure that the reward is something that is harmonious with your goal, and is a motivator for you.

Make a promise you will keep

Keeping yourself on track, motivated and rewarded is easier, when you have made the resolution public with someone who cares about you, who shares a similar goal or has a vested interest in the outcome that will be achieved from the successful implementation of the resolution. If you don’t have someone to hold your hand and kick your butt occasionally, it can be easy to put off the new task for a day, and another day, until next week, next month and then forget about it as it has all become too hard and you have lost sight of why you wanted to achieve it in the first place. Having an accountability buddy, someone who will check in with you regularly, call you out on the excuses you make for not following through and celebrate the wins with you…is a most effective way to stick to your resolutions and make them realities, plus, it can give you the opportunity to be the one holding someone else accountable for their resolutions and knowing that you are giving back at the same time.

Tradition and social expectations have encouraged the setting of resolutions for the New Year for thousands of years. The practice today is often met with cynicism, due to the number of ‘resolutions’ that never eventuate. However, the practice of setting goals for personal and professional development is generally considered to be a valuable exercise. By ensuring those goals have a clearly defined purpose, a strategic implementation plan, measurable milestones with relative rewards and a personal commitment to follow through with actions, they can be extremely effective in helping any individual achieve satisfaction and an outcome with a desired impact. The challenge now is to overcome the expectation that setting resolutions are a once a year event…so I challenge you, to review your resolutions if you made any in December/January and consider if they are still relevant, adjust as required, then start Talking About Your Resolutions everyday, people who care will then start asking you about them and vice versa…after all, today is the first day of the next twelve months and a great time to work towards your goals.

If you need support to turn your resolutions into reality, and to be part of a collective of inspiring new female entrepreneurs, reach out to me via joy@canvascoworking.com.au for details about Pulse — women’s accountability collective