Many people just before the end of one year, start thinking about the changes they want to make for the next. We often see the start of a new year as a means to start afresh. Wash away the problems or issues of the past twelve months. How many people do you know who say: “be glad when this year comes to an end”, “next year cannot be as bad as it’s been this year.”
For some, the idea of making a New Year resolution is just a bit of a gimmick. Something you say at parties to start a conversation. A lot of people will dismiss the idea. But there are some who take it all very seriously and religiously plan their year by making a few well-chosen goals. Whatever you think about a resolution for the start of the forthcoming year, there is something about having an aim, a focus to begin the year on a positive. After all, if your year has been unfulfilled or just plain uninteresting, they why not consider something to improve the next one. Why not make a change or develop yourself in some way? There is always room for improvement in all of us.
Top Resolutions in the UK
For some, their year has been an emotional upheaval. The breakup of a relationship or the loss of a loved one. For others, it’s been a challenging year at work, redundancy or financial hardship. But it doesn’t always have to be a dramatic year, to make any of us feel underwhelmed by it all. Maybe fitness levels have dropped or weight has been increased. Making us feel uncomfortable with who we are. It might just have been a rather dull uneventful year, which we wouldn’t want to repeat. Or it could be, there is something we want to change. Like a habit or behaviour, which we just don’t want any more.
Here are some of the resolutions people make, which often land up in the top New Year resolutions list in the UK.
- Exercise more or join a gym
- Quit smoking
- Lose weight
- Save more money
- Be better organised
- Start a new hobby
- Read more
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Learn a new skill
- Travel more
Start as you mean to go on
Making a New Year resolution can be a great thing. No reason we shouldn’t give our self challenges, or goals to strive toward. However, one survey found, that at the end of 2017, 64% of people making a New Year’s resolution did not succeed at keeping them. In fact, the same survey found only one in five of those people questioned, failed to keep to their stated resolution and had given up on it by mid-January. It also appears that overall men are less likely to stick to their resolutions in comparison to women. But only by a small percentage.
So what are the reasons for this inability to keep to said target? Well, numerous I would imagine. Some have great intentions, but that’s all they are. While others struggle to keep going and underestimate the reality of what it takes to accomplish their goal. Or maybe, some just overcommit, don’t think it through enough, or just haven’t made a good enough plan to keep them on track.
Let’s face it, January may not always be the best time to start certain things. It’s dark, cold and often raining. We have just spent an inordinate amount of money over Christmas and need to start readdressing the bank balance. Getting out there on winter days or starting new things which cost, is going to be a challenge. So, we need to take these things into account when stating our New Year objective.
Why not leave it until the start of spring, when our mood can be lifted with longer brighter days and a warmer climate. It could be we find it easier to shed a few pounds, when we can get out more and make the most of the longer evening. Being able then, to go for a walk or cycle in the light. It will give ourselves a chance to balance the bank statements. To then decide what’s available for the monthly gym payment or the weekly polarities workout.
This is not however, a reason to slouch on the sofa until the weather improves. Far from it. There is plenty which can be done toward those goals over the winter months. It can be a time to research the things you have in mind. Visiting the local college website for courses, workshops or classes starting later in the year. Making comparisons of local gym subscriptions and what they offer. Start to budget financial costs for the year. And identify the areas where you could spend less. So you can then make room for new spending, on things you really would like to do next.
If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got
Tips for success
To gain the most from your year and keep those New Year resolutions, here are a number of tips to consider:
- You are more likely to do something and keep to something you enjoy
- Find ways to reward or treat yourself for any changes you make on route to your overall goal
- Be realistic and don’t overload yourself with too many resolutions
- Consider your goal carefully, taking into account the things which can prevent you from success
- Break it down to small steps. Going in too much too soon, could take its toll
- Be kind to yourself and don’t expect too much too soon in terms of results
- Keep in mind it takes time to create new habits or ways of doing things differently
- Make sure you create time in your day, week or month for your new resolution
- Telling others of your resolution may put you in the spotlight and add unnecessary pressure
- Plan ahead and prepare for the things which could get in your way
Remember too, that starting new habits, creating new structure to our routine can take time to settle in. The beginning of doing any of this, is the thought that you need to do something in the first place. So in that ,you have already started. Then it is a matter of planning step by step, the ways you will reach your overall goal. Make it work for you and be S.M.A.R.T. by considering this process often used by life coaches and people in business:
Specific: in what you want to achieve each with clear well-defined criteria
Measurable: ensure you can measure your progress step by step, so you know if you got there
Achievable: make your goal attainable and not impossible to achieve
Realistic: make sure each step is within reach, realistic and fits with the life you desire
Timely: have a clearly defined timeline for each step and for your overall goal
A Happy New Year
So consider this. How will achieving this resolution, improve your life? How will it make you happier? How will it make you feel good about yourself? How will it make you feel, that you have done something constructive and creative?
Not being able to get a clear concise answer to any of these questions, may mean you are on the wrong path. It could mean you have chosen the wrong resolution or goal. Alternatively, if you have been able to answer any, if not all these questions to your benefit, then that in itself will be a great motivator to help you toward success.
The New Year is soon to begin. Time to decide what you want from it. What are you goals? What are you hoping to achieve in the months ahead? You may need help and support to establish those goals or aims. You may be looking at changing a behaviour or a habit. You may want to consider how you become more confident, less anxious and feel better in yourself. As a life coach and therapist I am always here to support you when necessary. Together we can work toward that future you want and deserve.
Whatever your goal for the year. Whether you call it a resolution or not. Just make sure, it is one which will improve the quality of your life, in one way or another. Ensure whatever you do, has an outcome which makes you feel good and happy. Improving the person you are and the life you are now living. Don’t get stuck in the past about what you should have done or could have done. Rather, live for today, live for the moment you are in right now and plan for the moments you can enjoy in the future.
This blog is of course written with a New Year in mind. But it makes no difference when you decide to take that first step. Or decide that right now is the time for change. Whether you read this blog halfway through the year makes no odds. Now is the time to make plans for a constructive, positive and happier life. One better than you have ever lived before. Why? Because you owe it to yourself.