If you are anything like the majority of people you will be more than happy to see the back of 2020. As most of the country is in some form of lockdown, combined with the days being light for about three minutes, it is a great opportunity to take some time to sit down and plan the changes that will kick start your 2021.
How many resolutions should you make?
Every year you read about some day in the middle of January when we’ve all apparently already stopped following through on our resolutions. Therefore the best way to reduce the chance of being part of this random stat is to just create fewer resolutions. For many years I have just done one resolution – and I’ve rebranded it as a ‘life change’ rather than a resolution – in other words it is something that I want to commit to for life rather than 365 days (if I can get past January). I would therefore suggest that you commit to making 1-3 changes in your new year.
What is the best process for creating these resolutions?
Simon Sinek’s popular TED talk (7.5 million views and counting) encourages us to start with the WHY – and this is perfect advice for any resolution. The more important it is to you and the better understanding you have of why you are actually doing it then the more likely you will hold on to it.
I would suggest that you take fifteen minutes to sit quietly with pen and paper and reflect on your 2020. Perhaps go through your calendar – electronic or if you are old school like me then paper – and get a feel for what you liked during the year and also what you didn’t. Where would you like to see change in your life? Jot down thoughts as they come to you, into a positive and negative column. Once you’ve finished go over them again and circle the top three from each column that resonate with you most.
You should now have options for areas of your life that are working and contrasting areas that need change. With your choices keep in mind the following three points as you determine how you might create some lasting change with your resolutions.
Make it achievable and realistic
For example – rather than committing to hitting the gym four times a week just make it once a week. The four-timers will be hating life by the end of January where as those going once will have completed their weekly task. They won’t be mentally beating themselves up and may have realised that it is possible to fit it into their schedule and perhaps there is even time for a brisk walk once a week as well…roll on February.
Build on what you have already achieved
For example – did you ‘take up’ meditation in 2020? Just about managing to find time once in a while to sit quietly for ten minutes (it sounds so appealing when it’s put like that). Why not commit to adding two more minutes to your practice. Or adding one extra five minute practice a week. Tiny additions to what you are already doing add up over time.
Have some fun with the challenge
Rather than seeing it as another chore or commitment explore how it can make you laugh.
For example – want to help out the planet by not using plastic bags in 2021? Until you make it a habit you are bound to forget to bring your own bags to the supermarket. Don’t be afraid to carry your local shop home in your jumper or if you do take a plastic bag then perhaps make a £5 donation to The Ocean Clean Up – you’ll soon start remembering to put canvas bags in the pockets of every jacket you own.
Once you’ve worked through those you can simply pick a few from your list that you feel most drawn to and officially start tweeting and posting that these are your chosen resolutions for 2021 and just wait for the likes to mount up.
Finally, just remember why we make resolutions. It is generally to create a positive impact on our lives, the lives of those around us, and hopefully the planet as a whole. So it’s definitely worth making some.