Thinking about making New Year’s Resolutions?

It’s that time of year when we start to think about making New Year’s Resolutions. I can almost hear you groan….”What’s the point? New Year’s Resolutions are almost always broken before we reach the end of January.” But before we start, I just want to say that for the last five years, I have successfully kept my New Year’s Resolutions. I’ll share the secret of my success with you shortly.

Most of the articles you read about New Year’s Resolutions encourage the reader to make their resolutions as robust as a “SMART” objective. These articles encourage you to have a date by when you’ll have achieved your goal, be clear in what you want to achieve etc.

A few years ago the Efficiency Coach recently wrote the following:

“Did you know that only about 3% of adults have clear, written goals? 

These people accomplish five to ten times as much as people of equal ability and standing, but who, have never taken the time to write out exactly what they want to achieve…. ” 

So, we’re all encouraged to write SMART resolutions, but most of us, apparently, seem unable to do so.

And then, most articles fail to discuss or give us advice on how to overcome barriers and challenges. There’s nothing more depressing that failing to keep your New Year’s Resolution within the first few weeks of the New Year. As soon as you break it, or have a minor blip, your confidence drops; you doubt your ability to sustain the energy required to make your resolution successful. And so, most people give up.

Not me: I break all the rules when making my New Year’s Resolutions. My resolution for the last five years have been “To become a better cook”. There’s nothing specific about this resolution: cooking requires a massive range of skills from baking, to slow cooking. This resolution does not define or restrict me in any way. I don’t have to work at it every day – or even every week. Some weeks when work is really busy, I don’t have time to indulge myself in my hobby. There’s no timescale: so as long as I judge myself to be a better cook than 364 days ago, then my resolution has been successful.

So my advice is as follows:
1. Do something that will involve gradual improvement over the year.
2. Keep it vague.
3. Don’t commit yourself in terms of time.

Let me know what New Year’s Resolutions you’ve made this year.


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