As I write this, it’s January. A new year. And a time when many of us are promising ourselves that this year will be different. This year, we will stick to the diet / never smoke again / learn to play the guitar / travel more / be kinder…
Our good intentions are endless and, to paraphrase Mark Twain, the odds are that we will spend the rest of the year paving the road to Hell with them.
A few weeks in, how are you getting on? Is your enthusiasm waning? Are you making little deals with yourself?
I’ll start again on Monday…
I didn’t mean I wouldn’t drink at all, just Monday to Thursday…
One cigarette won’t hurt and then I’m really going to quit…
Let’s be honest, have you ever made a resolution and stuck to it right through to the end of the year?
Why are resolutions so hard to keep?
Maybe the clue is in the word. We define resolute as
“To be admiringly purposeful and determined, unwavering, adamant”
Who can keep that up? It sounds exhausting and just the sort of stage that Superwoman likes to strut about on. Woe betide anyone who can’t keep up… anyone who is less than “admirable”!
It seems to me that we are setting ourselves up to fail. We’ve adopted an approach that may fit with our cultural paradigm of drive, competition and dogged determination but is at odds with how we feel when we’re anticipating change.
Change can be decidedly anxiety-inducing. We often feel uncertain, nervous or ill at ease when we’re planning changes to our habits and our lives because it doesn’t matter whether the change is for the better, we’re used to what we know.
Taking a step into a new way of being can feel like a leap into the unknown and it’s unlikely we will be ‘unwavering and adamant’.
So, if resolutions are so hard to keep, is there a better way?
A more effective way to make resolutions
Our resolutions are often defined by society’s or our family’s expectations and determined by what others want or have suggested. There is no surer way to set yourself up to fail than to make a commitment that fits with someone else’s vision of your life.
Step one: get in touch with your own vision.
Stand in your power and dream the next 12 months into being.
Close your eyes and imagine that you are on your way to a party on 31 December 2019. You’re excited to see friends and family and share with them all the joy of the twelve months that have just passed. And as you get ready to leave and look back over the year, what are the highlights? What are the key moments that you want to share?
Now come back to the present.
What do you need to do to bring those moments to life this year?
Step two: Choose joy
Our resolutions are often focussed on things that we ‘should or shouldn’t’ do. These are words I have banned from my vocabulary. You won’t find joy in going through the motions out of a sense of obligation or duty – there is enough of that in life already.
Instead, I suggest you make resolutions that will ‘spark joy’ and act as a wonderful counter-balance to some of life’s inevitable drudgery.
It might be something you’ve always wanted to do but never tried; a place you’ve always wanted to visit; a new skill you’ve always wanted to master.
Here are some of the joy-filled resolutions that I, and my clients, have made over the years to inspire you.
Feel free to borrow any that spark joy in you:
- To visit Las Vegas
- To swim in the ocean every month
- To learn archery
- To visit a castle every other month
- To start a book club with my closest friends
- To learn Italian
- To drive along the North Coast 500 in Scotland
- To finally say ‘yes’ and marry my true love
- To quit my job and retrain as a coach
- To take a sabbatical of at least three months and rest until I’m well again
- To have a party every season
- To make 6 new friends
- To stop keeping clothes for ‘best’ and wear something sparkly every day
Step three: Ask if now is the right time to make resolutions
And, of course, you could decide not to make any resolutions at all in January. Winter is a time for bedding down and returning to the earth.
Enjoy the feeling of being rooted and settled, take the time to think and to replenish yourself before Spring when the sap is rising and it may feel more natural to make changes.
When you’re ready to start thinking about change, it’s worth considering getting away from your usual haunts and habitat. Despite its modern meaning, the word resolution actually comes from a late Middle English word meaning to loosen or release.
So, release yourself from everyday triggers and learned habits. Loosen your mind to wonder and dream.
In your dreams, you already know what you want.
In your dreams, you already know what intentions to set.
In your dreams, you already know how to get to that wonderful place that you’re going to.
Perhaps it’s time to resolve less and dream more.
About Sara Price
The Knitting, Baby-whispering Karaoke queen!
Sara is a One of Many coach, a mentor and one of the first cohort of certified One of Many trainers. In addition, Sara is Founding Partner of one of London’s leading communications agencies (Pagefield) and is authoring a book entitled ‘How to Actually Change the World’.
Sara has teamed up with physiotherapist/Pilates instructor Jo Turner and nutritionist/hormone specialist Nicki Williams to create a unique women’s retreat experience in Umbria, Italy.
The ‘What’s Next’ retreat will take place from 23–29th June 2019.
For more information and for an exclusive One of Many 10% discount on this retreat, please see our webpage https://www.real-retreats.com/what-s-next-itinerary or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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- Guest blog: Why are resolutions so hard to keep? - January 15, 2019