The 1st of January ….seen as a time to wipe the slate clean, a fresh start and new beginnings. Frustrated by bad habits like smoking, and overindulgence or overwhelmed by your chaotic lifestyle, you vow to change through making New Year’s resolutions. By May, the treadmill is collecting dust in the garage and you’re smoking 5 more cigarettes per day than you were the year before. Guilty and defeated many of us give up further attempts to change.
New Year’s resolutions fail so often because people don’t make plans for dealing with inevitable temptations, or set any specific goals to guide the implementation of the resolution. They also fail because people make an arbitrary resolution in order to fix a complex problem, without an awareness of deeper issues. Resolutions also tend to be negatively or punitively phrased leaving us with a sense of deprivation, instead of a positive resolution which is focused on self-fulfilment and achievement.
If you’re determined to keep those new year’s resolutions, here are some tips to get you started.
Clearly define the problem: What is your motivation for the resolution and what insight do you have into how the current unsatisfactory situation was created. Research shows that people who gave considerable thought to their resolutions were more successful than those who came up with them at the last minute, like after the New Year’s party.
Write it down: Write down your realistic resolution and place it in a prominent place as a constant reminder, let it be flexible to accommodate your goal changes.
Have an action plan:brainstorm tools you can use to implement the resolution and find your starting place. Set realistic time limitations for yourself.
Spread the word:Tell people about your resolution. Friends and family are more likely to be a form of support and encouragement if they understand your goal and can also challenge you to stick to them.
Small steps: Take the process of change one day at a time. A few positive effects of change will give you sense of control instead of being overwhelmed by all the days to come.
How did the tradition of resolutions begin anyway? The tradition seems to be as old as New Year celebrations; the Babylonians celebrated New Years’ day over four thousand years ago, although their celebration was in March rather than in January, coinciding with the spring planting of crops. Resolutions were a reflection of the Babylonians’ belief that what a person does on the first day of the New Year will have an effect throughout the entire year. So if you are going to break your resolution, you’ll be continuing a long tradition of broken resolutions dating back to the dawn of recorded history! And you can always start again in March, Babylonian style.
Did you know that LifeLine Corporate can assist you with reaching your goals? Simply Call us on (011) 728-1331 or send us an email on L2training@lifelinejhb.org.za and we can assist with personal coaching or mentoring sessions to help you motivate yourself at work to reach your goals. Read more about Employee motivation in our next article