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The New Year is Here...Have Your Resolutions?

Jan 5, 2021

Image: The specter of New Year resolutions -
In this year ago article from by Adrienne Gibson, Keynote speaker, facilitator, coach and consultant specializing in leading change, we get a glimpse of what the new year can mean.
If you’re like me, I found myself year after year kicking off New Years with aspirational goals and traditional resolutions. Often the same ones…lose weight, save more money, exercise more, read more, etc. Every year I would write my resolutions with such high hopes and intentions. Then at the end of the year I realized, despite my best intentions I hadn’t achieved most of them and would start the new year again with the same ambition. And, more times than not, the same goals.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Why else do gym memberships spike in January then activity and membership starts to drop in February and dwindle away by March. Sure many people hit the gym in January following an excessive December (I won’t add “dry January” as another side effect for those of us in the UK), but I think new year’s resolutions have a significant part to play as well.
So why do we make them?
Do they really work?
I’m sure for some people they may work well. For many of us, however, we may have the tendency to start the year off “big” then it fizzles throughout the year. Perhaps the goals were unrealistic or too big. Perhaps life got too busy or we forgot about them. Whatever the reason, for many people the resolutions may fall by the wayside, despite our best intentions.
And this isn’t just a symptom for those who aren’t ambitious or goal-oriented. Quite the contrary. Many of us who love to achieve goals or whom people would label “achievers” also fall short of new year’s resolutions.
Is there a better way?
I like to think so.
Try creating a vision or intention for the year rather than overly ambitious, specific goals.
In 2017 I gave up the annual western world tradition and embraced a new approach. Rather than a list of very specific goals, I set out with an intention for 2017. An idea of what I wanted the year to be about. An overall focus so when I reflected on the year I could see clearly that I had achieved that focus. The good news…it worked! On New Year’s Day 2018 when I reflected on 2017 I could honestly say I had achieved what I intended.
What was that for me? A lifestyle change…
-      From a business perspective, that meant completing a fantastic consulting assignment I’d enjoyed for a couple years so I could focus on taking my business in a different direction.
-      On the personal side, I was ready for a quieter environment that allowed me to connect more with the outdoors and be part of a local community, rather than the fast-paced, central London lifestyle I had for 9 years.
The intention I set forth at the start of the year helped me maintain my focus and progress along the path of creating the lifestyle changes I desired. I was so pleased to finally reflect on the year and realize I achieved what I wanted, rather than feeling disappointed that I’d failed to hit some unrealistic goals. It worked so well for me that I’ve adopted it as my new norm.
So how does this work?
-      First, it doesn’t have to be tied to a calendar year. You can set the timeframe as anything that suits you.
-      What do you want your overall intention to be for that period? When you reflect back on that time period, what do you want to have achieved?
-      Is there a simple word or phrase that captures this vision? You don’t need a lengthy description. Keep it simple. It’s easier to remember that way.
-      Keep it top of mind. Create a vision board. Find an image or word that will help you focus. Put a reminder to yourself somewhere you’ll see it regularly.
-      Keep coming back to that intention. Check that you’re aligned with that intention as the time progresses. Are your actions aligned to what you wanted to achieve?
It’s not too late to rethink those 2018 resolutions and choose a different approach if the old way doesn’t work for you.
So what do you want 2018 to be about? Feel free to comment and share to get a conversation s

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