It seems to me a lot of people make New Year Resolutions in a split second or because everyone else has made them. This would likely be why many are the same ones that what seems like 90% of the global population makes each and every year, yet only 2% of these actually stick to.
I don’t deny that I fall victim to some pop culture movements and the words of some popular media networks. So I do make resolutions and only in recent years have I veered away from these typical resolutions and stick to them as long as the general population, which is roughly, two to three months (I’m guessing and this is not based on any real data or research). So I have rarely kept to a resolution which I suppose in a way means I have rarely made a meaningful resolution I cared about. In more recent times however I have become more rational and sincere in my decisions and the annual goals I set for my future life course.
I realised firstly that I spend a lot of time thinking of my resolutions in the lead up to the turn of the year. I intend for them to be long-term and life changes, which I think is the whole intention of these things anyway. I don’t make lists, or set too many goals. I do a lot of research when required and consider exactly what I need to do to prepare mentally and emotionally, as well as how the change may affect my life.
My criteria for a resolution also includes reflection of how realistic my goal is. That means I acknowledge I have resolved to make a change in a part of my life that I have the power to change and that I can control the change. I suppose you could say I am taking ownership of the change, which seems simple, but I notice a lot that people rarely take ownership of their actions.
So, what does this mean? It means that I am not resolving to win lotto. Or make ‘that guy’ fall in love with me. Or get ‘that job’ I really want. (These are all in inverted commas as they are hypothetical situations. There is no specific guy or job). Importantly for me, I’m not resolving this year to be healthy.
And no one can genuinely pull off a resolution to win Lotto. So just stop. Now.
Changes in diet and energetic output are tricky as (in my opinion) it needs to be something you are mentally and physically prepared to continue with. Your closest companions need to be on board to help and you’ll need to know you won’t cave to peer pressure or just lose interest. Plus if you were serious about it, why haven’t you started before now? Seriously?
Changing cognitive processes, deeply in-built behaviours and characteristics of yourself may require professional help, unless you are incredibly aware and focussed, take small, slow steps and reflect often.
For me, I choose one trait or focus point each year. It is never a large one, I am playing ‘The Long Game’. All my changes are aimed to build up under one big banner of being a kinder, more considerate person. At the moment I am working on lessening my selfishness. I think it is difficult on its own, but it is a big part of me, and definitely not a trait I like about my own nature.
In 2014 my resolution was to be there for the people in my life. To do this I was constantly asking the questions: How do [they] feel? What can I do to help [them]? How can I be there for [them]? Do [they] need something and can I give it to [them]? Am I doing the right thing for [them]? In a year in which I was so unwell and so adrift this state of mind actually kept me grounded in reality. It helped when I was a bridesmaid, although I could barely recall where I was at times and was mostly dazed that weekend.
By enjoying other people’s happiness I found that by the end of the year my thoughts naturally gravitated to the emotions and well-being of others. Gee I realise how this makes me sound painfully self-centered and unconcerned with anyone else feelings prior to 2014.
Perhaps I was.
Or perhaps I am a whole new level of ‘good’ person.I don’t know and life isn’t a competition that I need to be graded on.
What at first seemed to be so simple became a great resolution and it has changed me for the better. I am super pleased.
To follow this tradition I have three little things to focus on as my Resolutions for 2015. I already half do these things, but I am bad, and need practise. They seem simple so bear with me:
1. I will look a person in the eye when they speak to me or when I am speaking to them.
2. I will use their name at least once in the conversation in a neutral or positive tone. So not sarcastic, cynical or superior judging tones.
3. I will ask questions about statements made and follow up on progress from on going situations.
Yes, I know what you are thinking. These are general and practical conversation and business techniques. They are common sense, or should be. Everyone should do them, right? The truth is they don’t. I try, but infrequently, and I am bad at it.
These are my 2015 Resolutions.