Love them or loathe them – what you need to know about New Year Resolutions
It’s a great party ice-breaker – “What’s your New Year Resolution?” – but how many of your good intentions actually turn into reality?
We’re celebrating 15 years of leadership development and coaching at the Forton Group and this issue comes up every year, without fail.
Because people do want to succeed. They do want to be happier, healthier, more fulfilled at work, and in relationships that work.
To turn that dream into reality – here’s what you need to know:
- Resolve is a finite resource, so tap into your values too.
Keep your resolve for those make or break moments, like: “no thanks I won’t have another”, or “yes, I will get up now and go for a run”.
Don’t expect your resolve to have any power at all when you are hungry, thirsty, tired or stressed. In those moments, simply be kind to yourself.
There’s something more powerful and enduring than resolve, and it’s your values. Knowing what’s important about your resolution – why you are doing it – will stand you in good stead as you step towards your goals.
- Timing is everything.
Find out what time of day you’re at your best, and do your highest-value work, or resolution-requiring effort, then. Don’t go food shopping when you’re tired or hungry (notice the theme here?).
Exercise at the time of day that gives you energy. Meditate, pray or do yoga when you feel the most benefit.
- Making your life easier is not a crime.
Where you can automate your life, or create systems that support your goals, do it.
Whether that’s setting up an automatic transfer into your savings account for your holiday fund, or having a stock of cholesterol-lowering drinks in the fridge; or identifying the best cigarette substitute for your health.
Invest your time in setting up these systems, so that you don’t have to think twice about taking the actions you need. If it’s easy to do, you’ll be using less of your valuable resolve.
- It’s about what you don’t have around you, as much as what you do have.
If there’s no chocolate in the house, you won’t eat it. Which of course, does beg the question about what to do with those well-meaning gifts from friends and family.
My personal plan is to gift these boxes to the local food bank. Remove temptation and bring pleasure to others, at the same time.
- It’s about who you have around you.
Many blogs on New Year Resolutions will tell you to socialise your goals. Which is why we chat about them at parties, of course.
My extra advice is ‘pick your buddies carefully’. If you’re trying to go smoke-free, then your smoking or vaping friends aren’t necessarily your best supporters.
Of course they want the best for you; yet you need to have the best people – for you – to give you the smoke-free support you need.
- It’s about breaking your goals down into easy steps.
Unless you were given a magic wand for Christmas (and I’d check the small print in the guarantee if I were you), there’s no instant solutions.
If your goals were that easy, you’d have achieved them long ago.
Break each goal down into easy steps. Use coloured pens, or sticky notes; anything to make this a fun activity.
- Write it down.
Now you’ve had a think about your goals, write the steps down and answer these questions:
- What’s the first thing you need to do?
- What’s the easiest thing you do next?
- What’s the most challenging thing about your goal?
For this last point, spend time finding ways to overcome the challenges.
- Rewrite your goals as positives.
Many people say “I’m not going to….(have another cigarette, eat that chocolate)”.
Unfortunately, by repeating this you’re imprinting the idea even further into your mind.
So state your goal as a positive: “I’m going smoke-free this week.”
- Know your triggers.
So many of our clients are triggered by stressful situations to fall back on their undesirable behaviours.
Whether it’s salty snacks with a drink before dinner; reaching for a cigarette after a stressful meeting; or falling onto the sofa after the children have gone to bed.
Knowing what triggers you is an important step to cutting it out.
- Make it a habit.
Going smoke free this week is an example of a great step, positively stated. And this week, and this week.
Yes, there may be side-effects, which is why it’s important to know your triggers
And yes, this is where your resolve is needed – or perhaps a lower-risk substitute to support you through your trigger points.
Do what it takes to support your new habit.
- Falling off the wagon.
It happens to us all. I have met people with an iron will and determination to achieve their goals. Yet most of us are all-too-human.
A single step backwards isn’t failure; it’s just a slip.
When we pick ourselves up, forgive ourselves and remind ourselves of what’s important about the goals, will help us to move forward in the direction we really want to go.
- This is about you.
This is your life; each moment is precious and no one can live it for you.
I know how trite this can sound, but when we combine ownership and control of our own choices, with the support and encouragement of those who care for us, wonderful things can happen.
Those dreams can, and do, become a reality.
And if you need extra support in achieving your goals, a coach can really help make that extra difference. Whether it’s a work ambition, or a personal goal, you can achieve your New Year Resolution.
Here at Forton we have coaches around the world, on tap in multiple languages to help you achieve your goals.
From all our colleagues, we wish you a happy holiday season and here’s to making 2017 your best year ever.