At the risk of being bah-humbug, I confess to feeling some relief that the Christmas season is drawing to a close. As the wilting tree is put out and I dig out forlorn and forgotten food items from the back of the fridge, I look forward to life getting back to its usual pace, and new projects for 2016.
So thoughts turn to New Year Resolutions, with the usual subjects of weight, money and being an all-round better person coming into view. How often have we looked back, as early as February or March, and seen these plans fallen by the wayside? Why should we set ourselves goals just because everybody else does at the same time?
But, before I let myself off the hook, the New Year is as good a time to reflect as any, and there is always something we can improve upon or change. How else do we achieve personal growth? I’m not meaning looking for faults, but thinking about what makes us fulfilled, and whether we are settling for second (or third) best. Could you be happier? Could you make a difference to someone else’s life? We know that small acts of kindness make us feel better too.
So my resolution will involve choosing one theme and working on that. It might entail doing, or being, or even feeling.
What’s the process?
I’m going to follow a three-step plan:
Think about what I want to change, or improve, or introduce. This might entail writing down things that aren’t quite right, or just sitting and reflecting. Then I will look for a theme; it might all be subject related (like work) or they might all link to an attitude or behaviour.
Thinking about how I want things to be is the next step. This doesn’t have to be a huge leap, and if it is daunting I can set small steps, perhaps on a monthly plan. What do I want this change to look like by April, Summer, at the end of the year?
Now comes the detail. What do I want to think, feel or do differently? Does this mean learning or training, are there friends or family I can get on board to help? What do I actually need to do to change this and can I write this into steps, or a plan?
I can remind myself that the best-laid plans need to be flexible and can be adapted if things don’t work out as intended. And above all else, I’ll need resolve. When I set my goals I it helps to have a vision or an idea of what I want to achieve, so that when things falter I can remind myself of why I am doing it. This is especially important if the change is physically demanding or depriving us of something we enjoy.
If I make that vision exciting and positive, and set rewards for myself each step of the way, then I will have more chance of success.