That time of the year again. Everywhere I look I see articles, posts, links about New Year's resolutions. Shame that they punctually don't work and nobody remembers by February.
Over the years, like many, I have come to realize that New Year's resolutions not only don't work, but provide us with a sense of guilt that we could happily do without. I am not suggesting we let our goals drift away, rather the contrary. Just "having" a goal isn’t enough. We need a plan and a system.
Have a look at this extract from this blog, does anything here sound familiar?
"SAVING ON POINTLESS EXPENDITURES: This is why you see people constantly trying to cut back on lattes or other pointless savings goals…and when it fails, they resolve to “try harder” next time. Codewords: “I did all the right things…and look how it turned out.”
WORKING OUT INCORRECTLY: This is also why you see people who’ve been working out for years but don’t really show any visible changes. It’s scary for them to to admit that perhaps they’ve been working out wrong for years — and that while it makes them feel “good,” they are not getting the results they want. Codewords: “I’m not the kind of person who can lose that kind of weight” or “Lift weights? I’m a girl. I don’t want to get huge!”
SENDING OUT 100+ RESUMES: We have people who send out 100 resumes, then complain about the economy. They never understand that there’s an entire game being played around them, and top performers are snatching the best jobs away before average candidates ever see them. Codewords: “The Baby Boomers and immigrants stole my jobs…I guess I just need to send out another 50 resumes and wait and see.”
So yes, we want to change, but don’t know HOW to do it. So we do what’s easy, and what the media tells us to do: Make a New Year’s resolution!"
For years I have failed to reach many of my annual "resolutions" until I realized a few things:
- I had to be clear on the motivation behind my goals.
- I had to get a clear buy-in from myself, work on my mindset and have a plan with deadlines (this book by Carol Dweck was revealing for me).
- I had to be realistic. Who knows me well knows I am a fan of diaries and to do lists. By the end of the day/week/month/year whatever is on them needs to be marked as "done". Or else it won't be on my list.
- I have to get some decent rest here and there or I will just not function well.
- I somehow got better at managing my time (more on this topic in January).
I have also learnt to let go, so rather than a list of things I will do more, I have now a yearly list of things that I am letting go.
- Donate more. Less clutter somehow makes me sharper. Clothes, toys, anything we don't really need goes to the Red Cross or equivalent (on-going hopes still here as every birthday party, every family reunion sets me back!)
- Control. I just can't have it over many things so I have learnt to let go of what I can't change, sometimes thinking karma helps…
- Perfectionism. There was a time where especially in my house I wanted things to be done my way. Then I read once a quote from Sheryl Sandberg "Done is better than perfect" and it immediately resonated with me. As long as it is done, it does not matter whether that shirt was not washed the way I would have wanted it (I am useless at that anyway), who cares if the baby was dressed with mismatched clothes or the playroom looks like we had an earthquake.
- Too much reading. I love to read. I used to be able to read a huge number of books. Then kids came. I still make long lists of what I want to read, save articles, pile up books. I will have to let go. Read the excellence and just scan through half of what I have saved.
- Fears. I refuse to live in terror. Yes we got broken into a few years ago, yes I am scared of terrorism and ignorance and of many other things. But I won't change my life for fear of any of that.
- Excuses have stopped. "Sorry, I can't" will have to do.
My hopeless open resolutions?
- Getting better at social media (whatapps, emails, FB messenger, sms, emails, work emails, ….. some days I just lose track and forget to get back to friends and family!)
- Convincing myself that I do not really need daily sugary drinks from Starbucks…
- Getting my baby to sleep through the night!
One more thought. My company organized an interesting event with a "mindset trainer", Caroline Ferguson, might be worth checking her profile and work here.
Caroline Ferguson, trainer to high performers who want to stop sabotaging their potential and start living fully and deliberately. She equips her clients with proven mindset tools to overcome limiting beliefs, behaviours and emotions that are blocking them from being successful and happy. Before training as a Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapist, Caroline worked as a Corporate Communications Consultant, specialising in business transformation. This has given her a deep understanding of the challenges facing business leaders, and the effects of change on people and culture.
Have a fantastic holiday season and start of 2016!