Happy New Year

January 5, 2017

As Oprah Winfrey once said: “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right”

Be honest, how many years have you made one or more New Year resolutions and never achieved  your goal? You are not alone. The success rate is low. I gave up years ago and now approach my resolutions in a different way.

However, I question why is it that we religiously aim for something to achieve on January 1. It is important we have something to strive for and setting a resolution gives us hope and a sense of purpose. But why do we need to wait until the beginning of a New Year?

I once felt excited about setting myself a new goal each January 1 and at the time I was determined to succeed.  It felt good to consider a fresh new start and to dispose of the old. By February, when the daily routine was back to normal and daily demands increased I found it increasingly difficult to maintain the pace. I don’t stress over it now. What I discovered is that although I may not have begun the task, the concept still lingers at the back of my mind ready for the time when I am in the right place. It is important to prepare yourself mentally in order to achieve the desired outcome.

Many of us  talk about getting fit and losing weight. It seems to be one of the most talked about resolutions each year. It also rates as the top resolution followed by getting organised. That makes sense, one won’t work without the other!

On a personal level I don’t verbalise it anymore but I sure think about it. For 2016 I may be fitter than the previous year but my weight has stayed about the same. I guess that’s a good thing. One of the reasons I haven’t met this goal could be that I am reasonably fit as it is and not that overweight. Consequently it is not as imperative as something else.  

Another example. I stopped Latin American dancing years ago, and for a number of reasons I never did get back to it. At the beginning of 2016 I felt the desire to resume dancing and I did. It makes  me feel happy as it involves exercise that doesn’t cause major damage to my ageing body and I love the music.  There is also the social aspect where you meet new people with like interests. Mentally and physically I feel energised.  

Okay,  I may not have begun my dancing goal until mid  year, but it did happen and now I dance three to four nights a week. I didn’t give up on my plan, I postponed it until the time was more suitable. It was a realistic goal that I was determined to meet for the right reasons and at the right time.  

I feel confident about my approach.  US Clinical Psychologist John Duffy Ph.D said: “Most of us have a natural bent toward self-improvement and even though the New Year is an arbitrary date, it gives us time and a goal date to prepare for the change, to fire up for the shifts we plan to make”.  

The end result, it is better to consider a resolution than none at all.

Twelve tips to assist you in your quest:

  1. If you failed the previous year be honest, ask yourself why and try again.
  2. Consider what your belief system is and what you value in life.
  3. Retain  positive internal  thoughts and intentions.
  4. Don’t make resolutions too restrictive.
  5. Keep them manageable i.e. small chunks.
  6. Make them realistic and achievable.
  7. Try not to do in haste.
  8. Don’t make your timelines too short.
  9. Be prepared to make some changes in your lifestyle.
  10. Change your priorities – there may be some needed sacrifices or trade-offs.
  11. Make sure they are not a burden, if so then remove them.
  12. Research the internet, there is an ocean of guidance.

Good luck until next year!


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