Fixing your New Year’s Resolutions
There was this thing that I did, but I never knew how to articulate it, so I never gave it much thought. It revolved around New Year’s resolutions and thinking that I needed them, but they were stupid and 12 months later made me feel unable to execute on goals I would set for myself. The times I did achieve them, I would just think “well that would have happened anyway”. It was the end of the year by the time I realised I hadn’t achieved them – this is the part where the failure is solidified, and self-doubt can set in. So, a long time ago, I said no resolutions for me, on any new year.
Firstly, this concept of a new year is a man-made concept, nature doesn’t care for it. But, it does create a psychological gate for us to walk through every 12 months which helps us mentally reset ourselves. Secondly, even though a ‘new year’ can be any twelve-month period we choose to set resolutions, doing it at the same time as millions of others is fulfilling in its own way and makes us share in the euphoria.
Where does the desire to set resolutions every year come from? We may want to become a better person. We may feel a sense of temporary achievement because setting the goal, in a way, is an achievement and it makes us feel a sense of belonging because everybody else is doing it, so we’re all in it together – whether we actually act on that or not is of little importance in January. Cynical, but true in many cases.
So, what I was unable to process and articulate became apparent to me while listening to Sam Ovens one afternoon. He spoke of quarterly reviews – personal ones. I had only ever thought of quarterly reviews in a corporate environment. He closed the gap for me. That gap was where my issues lay with the whole idea of new year’s resolutions. I only saw the beginning and the end, the starting line and the achievement or failure at the end. I was missing all the pieces in between. This is checking in with yourself quarterly on those goals and being critical and honest about what needs to be done and how you are progressing.
So, what do you need to do up front? For one, set realistic goals. Make some of them scary to push yourself and grow but keep it realistic. Once you have set the goals, keep a record of the ones you are serious about – write them down or save a voice note, whatever works for you. Then set dates to check in with yourself throughout the year. If you have a mentor, this would be good as one of the topics you address with them and generally helps with accountability if you feel you want to share it with them.
During your self-review process, look at how you are tracking against your goals, see if the trajectory is correct or if you need to adjust. Where you are falling behind, make the changes and look at incrementally fixing what you can to put yourself back on track. Don’t try do everything yourself; look for people, books, videos etc. to help you achieve those goals or fill in missing pieces that you can’t.
As you implement quarterly reviews and make these corrections along the way, you are continually strengthening the foundation for what you will build on the following year. For me, this is how I will continue this year. It gives me the motivation to re-introduce resolutions and grow, but it also gives me a plan and the opportunity to critically reflect on my personal progress. Let’s find gratification in achievement of our goals, rather than just the brief gratification in setting them.
This is our journey.