Coming up with New Year Resolution ideas tends to produce the popular ones of “Losing Weight”, “Getting Fit”, Travelling More amongst others. Many of us rush head long into January announcing what our resolutions are without pausing for breath!
This time last year I decided to focus on making memories throughout the year instead, and began a memory tin to record any happy or sad times that had particularly touched my life. I wrote these down on small cards and collected them in the tin and as the year rolled by they started to accumulate.
On New Years Eve, I sat with a glass of wine and opened up the tin and was amazed at how much had happened during the year. The new places I had visited, outings with family, coffee catch ups with friends, colourful rainbows spotted, sad partings with loved ones …. the list was endless. As I sat reminiscing at all the memories, some of which had been forgotten, I asked myself how different this scene would be if I had started the year with my list of usual resolutions.
Hand on heart, the answer was easy …… I would have listed the usual suspects and would have probably given up on them before the arrival of February.
I make the same resolution each year regarding losing weight and eating healthily and every year my good intentions start to fade within a couple of months, and sadly there is a part of me that simply expects to fail.
So why do many of us even bother to make New Year Resolutions that we have failed at by February? And should you go ahead and make some again this year?
How To Tackle And Make The Most Of A New Year – Step By Step 8 Point Plan
#1 – Reflect on the past year
Realistically how can you move forward without taking the time to stop, and mentally take stock of what has come before.
Take the time to sit down with a piece of paper and reflect on what the past year has meant in terms of your goals, achievements, wishes, health and happiness. Ask yourself the following questions :
a) What events have happened and what impact have they had on my personal life and work life.
b) What have been my achievements, however small.
c) What things have made me happy and made me sad. Can I change the impact of these situations.
d) What valuable lessons have I learnt from this year and how have they changed me as a person.
Life is extremely hectic, and some days we barely get chance to stop and think. It is important for each of us to spend quality time alone in order to process things/situations mentally in order to gain clarity.
“Mentally wipe the slate clean and be inspired to start afresh with what will make you happy and healthy”
#2 – Identify your intentions for the year ahead and the reasons for your choices
Really dig deep and be brutally honest with yourself. Don’t choose to sign up for the gym purely because your friends are going and want you to join them. Decide what is important to YOU.
For every intention/goal you write down, try and define the reason why this is important to you. How can you expect yourself to stick to achieving something if you don’t even know why you are doing it in the first place.
Often, working on one goal will lead to an improvement in another area. For example, by changing eating habits you can feel more energetic, your mood will lift and you will feel more inspired to exercise which in turn leads to weight loss, and increased confidence in your overall appearance.
#3 – Focus on your 3 main goals
Life can be hectic at the best of times, so having a long list of goals such as losing weight, eating better, travelling more, getting a better job, moving house etc can be far too much to actually achieve at once and completely overwhelming and unrealistic for many of us.
It is far better to make headway on a small number of specific goals than no progress at all on a large number. choose which goals are the most important to YOU.
#4 – Break down each goal into manageable segments
It is pointless deciding which goals are most important to you without having a plan of action to work towards.
For example, if you would like to start travelling more you could arrange a weekend away every 2 or 3 months. If you would love to travel to a faraway destination, the first step is starting a savings plan. We rarely jump from Point A to Point Z without at least a few steps in between.
Break each goal into small steps which you can complete and monitor and achieve and don’t set unrealistic time frames.
#5 – Track your progress
Whatever your goal is, cutting it down into smaller manageable segments will enable you to put a realistic time frame onto the tasks. You can re evaluate your progress monthly and as long as you are moving in the direction of your goal then you are making progress and improving. Don’t make the mistake of comparing yourself and your progress to anyone else! If one aspect isn’t working, change your strategy and keep trying.
#6 – Be consistent and keep things “real”
Pace yourself and don’t race like a lunatic to the finish line. The journey is as important as the end result and where we often find the biggest growth in ourselves. All the planning in the world will be futile if we don’t start and be consistent in our attempts.
Life is unpredictable and sometimes things happen that may derail us and our progress. Just pick up again and keep going, working towards your goal. Every step taken, however small, is a step towards success. It won’t be the end of the world if our goal takes longer to achieve.
#7 – Find your own motivation and inspiration
We are all to often our own worst critic, so don’t add fuel to the fire by sharing your goals with people who will put a negative spin on your progress. Share your intentions with those who will support you, give honest but motivating advice and inspire you to keep going.
Find inspirational quotes to hang on the wall of your study or be motivated by an upcoming event to use as a focal point to keep you motivated.
#8 – Be kind to yourself
Remember that this is YOUR personal journey, no one elses.
Do not beat yourself up or feel a failure if your intentions go awry. As long as you pick yourself up, get back on the right track and keep going, however slowly, you are a winner.
With this in mind, I have made a note of my own aspirations for the coming year :
- Travel To A New Country – New Zealand.
- Become Fitter – Start following an exercise regime 3 times a week.
- Eat A Balanced Diet – Cook meals from scratch and eat healthily 80% of the time.
- Discover New Areas In My Back Yard – Scotland and Wales, preferably when it stops raining!
- Learn New Photography Skills – i.e how to get out of manual mode!
However, I will be continuing with my “Memory Tin” as last year because for me, life is ultimately about making and remembering all the times in your life!
How About You? Do you make any New Year Resolutions at the start of each new year? If so, what are they for this coming year?
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