New Year Resolutions
How to enjoy the planning?
Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
It’s a dreary, wet, Tuesday afternoon, 3 days before I’m due to publish this Friday, New Year’s Eve. No one likes skiing in the rain and I’ve run out of piste and excuses, which is why I’m looking at my screen right now.
My four newsletters, to be planned well in advance, is still just a whim. Okay, I’d pinned resolutions for this week, a while ago, but the real work only started when I sat down today. Why have I left it to the last minute again? It’s a resolution I still need to work on.
Why do we plan new year resolutions?
Making change, setting resolutions, commonly happens at this time of year. For some, perhaps it’s over indulgence at Christmas, especially as losing weight and Dry January, are popular resolutions we are all familiar with. I stopped drinking on 1st January, 2020, with the intention of starting again in February, but never did.
The most popular resolutions include exercising more, eating healthier, saving money and losing weight. It’s an opportunity to start a fresh and be more motivated, as we try and improve our lives.
It’s the same motivation as starting something new on a Monday, but it becomes even more significant, because it’s a new month and year as well. We’re also more likely to tell our friends and family what we’re planning to do. More motivated than usual and keen to succeed, our shared declarations help to heighten our commitment further.
How good are we at keeping our resolutions?
According to You Gov, nearly a quarter of us who made 2020 resolutions failed entirely, a quarter succeeded and the rest of us managed some sort of partial success. But only 12% of Britons made resolutions for 2020, less than half those who said they were going to a month earlier.
Go Compare’s survey of 2,000 UK adults in 2021 suggested that most new year’s resolutions only lasted 7 weeks.
Why do we fail?
James Clear, the author of the best selling book, Atomic Habits, (1.1 million sales), who I’ve mentioned before, recognises 5 reasons why failure is so common.
Focus on one resolution at a time. Too often, we start the new year trying to change everything we don’t like about ourselves. Focus on one behaviour at a time and create a habit which quickly becomes a routine.
Start off with something that is easy to include. The most difficult part with any new resolution is finding the motivation to start. I want to meditate for 20 minutes each day, but what if I start with only 5 minutes? It feels a lot less daunting and I can’t think of a reason not to do it. After a month, I’ll increase the time I spend as it becomes a more comfortable part of my routine.
Worry about the behaviour not the result. Resolutions don’t deliver results, lifestyle changes do because that’s a process. We need to put our energy into focusing on the lifestyle and not chasing the result. Focus on being a writer, not the book you want to publish.
Change your environment. Our behaviours are a condition of our environment. If your resolution is to eat more healthily, then don’t stock-up on frozen chips and pizza.
Small changes do add-up. Goals can be daunting because they include big numbers. Reading 30 books this year sounds impossible, but reading 5 pages every night feels far more doable.
Going a step further
When I owned my own business, my resolutions were never more complicated than have a more successful year, which meant more car dealers signing up to our service and increasing revenues as a result. The idea of spending time for personal planning for the year ahead always sounded like a good idea, but I never felt I had the time to dedicate to the process or to live by the results until now.
It’s part of leading a more focused life, which I wrote about back in October. The process of planning my new year has taken about 3 hours and it’s a simple structured approach to really working out what I want to do. The process was made a lot easier by adopting the templated process which I bought from Shawn Blanc’s company, The Sweet Set-Up. Shawn has spent years perfecting a system which helped me plan and now populate all the focal points for the year ahead.
The planning process
I started by looking back rather than forward. What had I achieved this year and what had been more challenging and frustrating? With my new 2022 calendar views available I entered known events like birthdays, our first wedding anniversary and Iona’s departure to the US. While this might sound a bit janet and john, it made me think about planning and when I needed to start thinking about some of these events.
Next I listed out known events but I didn’t know exactly when they would happen. And finally, there were questions which encouraged me to think and dream big. Places I’d like to go, people I’d like to see, there was even room for those classic cliches we might have thought about before, like learning a new language or playing the piano. A year is a long time and I was encouraged to think about themes for the seasons. It also reflects the point earlier about focus and trying not to do everything at once. The pruning continued and I ended up writing one sentence which best captured the two areas I wanted to focus on in 2022.
Other goals, events and projects were not forgotten, but those that didn’t align with my main themes and areas of focus were removed.
A clearer picture
Armed with a better understanding of what I wanted to achieve, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be to work with my digital planner and start the new year with more consideration than ever before. I’m looking forward to it. Happy New Year.
Very insightful as all your articles. Have you published any book yet…?!
Happy new year Hubster x