So, here we are at the end of 2019. What does your past year look like? Some triumphs, some disappointments or tragedies? Whatever it looks like, what you and I have in common is wanting next year to be different.
A lot of us make resolutions for the coming year: getting on with our diet or fitness regime, being more sociable, mending fences with friends or family, travelling more etc.
When I think of the resolutions I’ve made in the past, I can count on absolutely no fingers how many of them I stuck with beyond each January but why is that?
If everyone in the UK put their name into a giant hat and I picked one out, then chose a resolution for this person I’ve never met, it would likely be on a par with the consideration and care I take over choosing my own resolutions. The trouble is that when I make them, I’ve usually been off work for Christmas; enjoyed myself, relaxed, spent time with people (or not, if it’s what I prefer). The me who is making these deals and promises is an idealised version who is capable of anything.
There’s a couple of articles I read every year (links are here and here), one of which mentions what you give up in order to fulfil your plans. Everything you are choosing to do in your life right now has value to you. Whatever it is you are currently doing, which you will also have to change in order to fulfil your resolution, is the thing you are going to miss.
The other important take away from these articles is the point that if you want something, you have to work for it. I can hear the chorus of “we know” and “obviously” but if it were that simple, would we not all be super-skinny, healthy, fit, fabulous, wealthy, in fulfilling relationships etc, etc?
To use my own example; I see women who are beautiful with amazing figures and I want to have the same. The same beautiful women also want amazing figures. The article discusses the key difference between my want and their want which is that they want it so they continually work towards it. They likely eat right, exercise, are conscious of treating their body well, they probably make sure they get enough sleep and so on. I want it in a passive way. It is a wish, not something I’ve worked for. I want a genie to appear and give it to me with no real effort on my part.
So, with these two themes in mind, let’s return to New Year’s Resolutions… What do you want which you’re willing to not only work towards continually but also give up something you value in order to achieve.
If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay because being aware is enough to get you a bit closer to your goals. Going on a diet (as with any life change), is fantastic when you get to where you want to be but it requires a bit of effort in between.
Likewise, getting to where you want to be doesn’t magically cure you of all the things you’ve put aside on your journey. If you like hanging upside down above a lake infested with piranhas each morning but have stopped doing so in order to go to the gym, you will miss it. Acknowledge and own this; then decide if you are worth it.
(Hint: yes, you are!)