January is right around the corner, bringing with it new opportunities to grow and thrive in our personal and professional lives. The tradition of setting new year’s resolutions is a great way to kick start the year because they provide a chance to reflect on our goals and dreams. Ultimately, new year resolutions are just goals that are prompted by the fresh start of the year.
The importance of goals (and resolutions)
As Diana Scharf Hunt said ‘Goals are dreams within deadlines,’ and in turn, they are the building blocks of your success. It is easy to look at top performing athletes, Fortune 500 CEO’s, famous actors and motivational speakers and feel like their success is unachievable. However, they, like so many others, are continually striving to be their best and achieve their goals.
Goals help you to:
- Maintain focus
- Sustain momentum
- Understand your purpose
- Maintain feelings of achievement
- Move forward on your life journey
- Achieve your dreams and potential
- Strive for your best and promote self-mastery
Whether you love or loathe the idea of new year resolutions, it is vital to remember that they are just goals. Despite this, many people find it difficult to make their resolutions stick.
Why most people don’t achieve their resolutions:
A recent study from the University of Scranton’s psychology department showed that 71% of those surveyed only kept their new year’s resolutions for the first two weeks. This is understandable, because as we stand on the precipice of a new year, our motivation is high, however, maintaining this motivation can be difficult.
Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that resolutions are damned to fail. In fact, with the right mindset and some tested strategies you can blitz your resolutions!
How you can kick-start the year and set resolutions that stick:
1. Take time to reflect on the present
Most people never take the time to reflect on where they are in the present or conduct a life audit before setting their resolutions, however, it’s an important first step. In order to really understand where you would like to go, you need to know where you’re starting from.
Put simply, a life audit is an exercise in self-reflection, which allows you to look at every single area of your life and assess your overall fulfilment. Before writing down your resolutions, take the time to consider which areas of your life you’d like to improve the most, where you might be getting distracted and the areas you are excelling in. This will lend a clearer picture as you move forward with your resolutions.
2. Stop ‘should-ing’
When we reflect on our own self-improvement, we often use words like ‘should’ or ‘have to.’ However, these words are counterintuitive, as we tend to rebel against these kinds of statements because they don’t feel like something we actually want to achieve.
Instead of should-ing all over your new year’s resolutions set active and positive goals. For example: ‘I will start going to the gym 3-times a week,’ opposed to ‘I should go to the gym 3-times a week.’ This small shift in language can have a huge impact on your perception, helping you to remain focused while moving towards your resolution.
3. Tap into your passion
When you have formulated a small list of resolutions it’s important to tap into the passion that is fuelling them. Ask yourself ‘why do I want to undertake this resolution?’ Again, if the answer has the words ‘should,’ or ‘have to’ in it, then try and reframe these.
Understanding your passion is vital as most people approach new year’s resolutions from a place of deprivation, or even punishment. However, your goals shouldn’t be uncomfortable or exhausting, they should be stepping stones to your deepest desires and dreams. By tapping into your passion you empower yourself to go after these goals with positivity, compassion and action.
New year resolutions get a bad rap and this mostly comes down to people rushing to set desultory goals because they feel like they ‘have to.’ However, with some self-reflection, reframing and understanding you can set the resolutions that you truly want to achieve.
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I had a fabulous career with one of the biggest businesses in the UK. My role was a sales contributor and later on sales leader. Although I enjoyed my role, I always found that I preferred the softer side of leadership, through working with people's development more than the operational side of driving the business.