• Adam Rothwell

Self-help: New Years Resolutions

Do you have a New Years resolution? Have you had them in the past, and how did they go? Interestingly, very few people last more than a few weeks with their resolutions, despite feeling positive and motivated at the end of December. But could the new year be your turning point where you take control of an aspect of your life and make change?

Who is it for?

Something worth considering with any goal you create is who it is for. Is it for someone else, or for yourself? If you are doing it to save a relationship, or to benefit someone near you, whilst this is a positive motive, you are missing someone really important - you. You need to invest in yourself to find maximum power and drive. Of course, those around you can factor in to your goal - you may want to lose weight to enjoy running around with your children, but you also need to have a longing to do it for your own health and benefit too. Having goals for your own benefit also ensures you are doing it for the right reasons, rather than because someone has told you to do it.

Is it achievable?

One of the things I often covered when coaching clients is how achievable a goal is. It is helpful to break down your resolutions into manageable activities that make the goal feel more achievable and realistic. So if your goal was to pay off a debt in the new year - how will you do this step by step? To pay off a debt which may be in the thousands can feel daunting, but if you create an action plan for instance, firstly checking the balance, then creating a monthly income and expenditure spreadsheet, and so on... suddenly feels more organised and structured.

Create accountability

Find someone close to you who can champion you with your goal - they should check in with you regularly to see how you are progressing and providing you with motivation along the way. We see this with drug and alcohol programmes who offer their participants a sponsor - someone who understands the motivation and provides accountability and guidance. So if your resolution is to exercise at the gym four times a week, is there someone who also wants to do this so you can go together, or someone that is happy to ring you each week to see how you have found it. They need to be someone who is happy to put you on the spot and challenge you, but in a kind and compassionate way. It is also worth having a discussion about how this will work before the new year so that you are both on the same page about the expectations of both party.

What if it goes wrong?

We are not perfect and won't get everything right - so what will you do if you slip up? For instance if you are giving up drinking alcohol for January but you slip up and have one drink... It can be tempting to give up and feel annoyed at yourself for not sticking to your resolution. This then means that you don't take notice of all the positive you have done and the days that you DID stick to your resolution). There is always the option to re-start, and to learn from the experience - what made you slip up? What was happening at that moment, how did you feel, what were you thinking? This can offer the opportunity for growth and and understanding of yourself. So you may learn about yourself and next time you are in the scenario, it may not be an issue.

Take time to reflect

Your intention may be to complete your New Years resolution for a limited time or for it to become a permanent thing in your life. Either way, take time to reflect on your progress and how it has affected you. So if your goal is health related - is it serving you in feeling better health wise, or mentally? If your goal is around relationships, have these improved or how have they changed? How have you changed as a person, and how do you see yourself? The idea of any goal is to influence change and it would be a wasted opportunity not to take time to consider how your resolution is benefiting you. You may want to journal, create blog or vlog, or just spend time thinking to yourself in an evening. Use it as an opportunity to learn about yourself, develop and grow.

Good luck on your journey!

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