I’m kind of over the old adage ‘New Year, New You’. There’s a ton of stuff around at the moment that promises (in no particular order) to make me richer, smarter, fitter, younger, more confident, more popular, sexier, slimmer, more employable, more promote-able……. you name it, there’s a new year’s resolution for everything.
I get it of course. Regardless of whether we are making personal or professional resolutions, this time of year is absolutely wonderful for trying new things and embarking on new journeys. But what is it about starting the New Year that makes us so determined to turn our backs on the people we were just a few days ago?
What is with this total lifestyle makeover that enthralls us so? A study conducted by BUPA in 2017 showed that over 60% of us will have broken our resolutions by the end of January. And the vast majority (83%) will have quit before the year is out.
So if making big changes isn’t working, what can be done to get us closer to our goals?
At Verosa, we work with our clients to help them recognise first and foremost what strengths they possess. We are all of us gifted. We are all of us talented. If you work from the position that you don’t have to become a different person to make positive change, rather, you simply need to augment the strengths you already have, the task seems a lot less formidable. It’s a mindset thing. In fact, it’s a growth mindset thing.
So what sets apart those who make the full twelve months? Well, luckily for us there has been plenty of research done on this too.
- Set more realistic goals. You don’t have to become
Gisele Bundchen / Idris Elba this year. Maybe fitting into an old pair of jeans, running a 10km or updating your CV is more realistic. Make sure you chunk it down. Work out what you will achieve month by month and make it manageable. Goal setting is an art form. Enlist the help of a professional coach if you want to get it right.
- Love what you are doing. It’s obvious isn’t it? Feeling impassioned about learning a new language or playing a new sport and loving the journey makes us want to stick with it. We can’t stick with things we don’t enjoy doing. There’s a reason I didn’t try tripe twice! Find the fun factor, the feel-good factor, the motivational factor in what you are doing and you are half way to getting there.
- Be prepared to fall down and get back up again. Almost all of those people who stick to their goals a year on from making them have at some point had a wobble. They have fallen off the wagon, missed an evening class, eaten two (make that three) packets of Jaffa Cakes in one sitting. And they forgive themselves, take a breath, take a good long look at what went wrong and get back on with it.
- Be flexible. No, I don’t mean the downward dog. I mean with your approach. If something isn’t working, if that behaviour isn’t serving you and isn’t getting you closer to where you want to be, consider changing it up slightly. If necessary, get coaching input to help you sift through your options and try a different tack. Being able to adapt is one of our key strengths as a species – we need to capitalise on that. Which brings me to the last point:
- Draw on your strengths. Do you know what your strengths are? Do you know what resources you can already draw upon to take you where you want to be? Being able to identify clearly and honestly your positive skills, behaviours and attributes – and by the same token, recognising areas you find more challenging – is the best place to start when you are building towards a goal. And be prepared to allow that resources can come from all sorts of places. Who and what can you draw upon to support your quest?
So, here’s to a happy New Year and to a very happy, striving, but same old you.