Resolutions or solutions?
We have survived January and we hope that you took our advice to not hit the ground running!
Reflecting on what you want for the year ahead is an investment in clarifying your interests and priorities, but it needs to be done with care.
We often put ourselves under unnecessary pressure with adding to the post-holiday slump with the commitment to new year resolutions. Generally, these are the most short-lived of all resolutions! The new, or renewed gym membership or weight loss programme that starts strong and then by the end of February the enthusiasm runs out. This can lead to a sense of disappointment, self-criticism and an impending mood that the year is not going to be successful.
What is a resolution?
‘A firm decision to do or not do something’ – Cambridge Dictionary
Most of our resolutions are created in our minds because they are things that we think we SHOULD do! That is the dreaded word – SHOULD! See how it shouts at you. You SHOULD be fitter, healthier, happier and more successful. The SHOULD message is one that we have inherited from childhood. Our parents or caregivers telling us what we SHOULD do and how we SHOULD behave. That word has a negative impact on us and our motivation levels.
SHOULD is never attached to things like – you SHOULD eat more cake, smoke more cigarettes, drink more alcohol or stay in bed longer. Without us realising it we can often have a slightly rebellious (childlike reaction) to what we should do. So we could be setting ourselves up to fail.
The gym and weight loss programmes last when the outcomes are the focus, and the sense of achievement comes from seeing the results. Feeling fit and being able to enjoy life with more strength and mobility, being able to fit into smaller size clothing and being told you look good, are the drivers of sustained change in behaviour.
So what are we recommending as a solution?
Think about what you would like to have as an outcome at the end of the year. What COULD you do to help you get there? E.g. to get fit: You COULD go for a 20-minute walk 4 times a week, you could go to a gym, you could dance around the kitchen, do chair Pilates. You COULD choose one of those each day. That gives you flexibility to think in the morning about what you COULD do, and to choose what you will do. That means you can also choose not to do it!
As autonomous adults we have the power of choice and that gives us agency to decide what is really important to us. Think of yourself as a salesperson. If you want to sell the idea of being fit to yourself, what would you focus on?
Salespeople are trained not to sell features but to sell benefits. Walking 20 minutes a day is not the objective. Feeling healthier, losing weight and getting out into nature and increased mindfulness which leads to stress release are the benefits that accrue from the activity.
When we work with clients, we help them to clarify what outcomes they would like to achieve. It helps them to become goal directed, working towards a bigger picture of the outcomes that they want for themselves, their families, their teams, their organisations.
They can start with the end in mind – where do they want to go? Where are they now?
Then it becomes easier to set the smaller goals and milestones that are essential so we can monitor progress and celebrate achievements along the way.
February is a short month, use it wisely to create that vision for the year. It does not have to be lofty and amazing. It has to be clear so that you can see a path towards it. The saying is that Rome wasn’t built in a day. So your life is being built a day at a time. You choose how each of those days COULD look and make sure that they include some fun.
Need help to clarify what you really want? You COULD invest 30 minutes to explore your needs/goals by booking an online call with us.