Psychology expert Cynthia Vinney says that over 90% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned within just a few months, whether it’s a plan to lose weight, pursue a hobby or socialise more.
I’m normally a big lover of New Year’s resolutions and tend to keep going with them for quite a while – even if not for the whole year! I think it’s the bit of me that is competitive that drives me on to prove to myself that I can do what I have set my mind to. But this year, I decided to do something a little bit different!
I turn 40 in November (I’m sure I can hear you saying, no, you can’t be – I thought you were 21!) and although I am not at all bothered about the turn of a new decade, it has made me want to look at how I spend my time, what my priorities are, and what I want to achieve before 3rd November arrives.
I always used to be someone who had a plan — a 5 year set of objectives that I was working towards — and I realised that as I turn 40, I’ll be coming to the end of my current plan. Over Christmas, I set myself off on the task of making a new one.
I went on the ACEVO Next Step Leadership Couse back in 2021 as a way of preparing for the new plan, and to be supported and tested by peers.
I took some time over Christmas, reviewing how I spend my time, where I find joy, what my values are, what difference I want to make, what skills I have (or want to acquire) and what is most important to me.
If you’re struggling to stick to one, be kinder to yourself. Think about what’s important in your life and what you’d realistically like to achieve.
I realised that my balance, in the main, is good, and I want to spend this year going deeper into the experiences and opportunities I’ve already encountered, rather than rushing to fill my time with new challenges. But that doesn’t mean standing still, it means going deeper.
I worked through what I wanted to achieve at TLC: Talk, Listen, Change over the next 12 months from a personal perspective: the projects I will personally lead, the connections I’d love us to develop, and the obstacles I want to overcome.
I worked through the Board roles that I have and reflected on whether I still wanted to do them all (the answer is that I do)! I worked through where I thought I had added value so far and identified ways I could do more in each of the roles I have.
At the end of 2022, I completed a 75-day physical challenge (the six pack revolution) and know that I want to enter my 40s in optimum health, maintaining where I got to at the end of this period but without being overly restrictive in my diet — the focus very much being about being healthy and strong.
I still feel that I want to catch up from all those missed opportunities for travel and social activity that passed me by during the height of the pandemic. And spending time with those I love the most, doing a whole range of fun activities, is also so important to me.
I have so many wonderful opportunities planned with friends and family over the next 12 months, absolutely making sure that I have time with those I love the most.
As I worked through my priorities for 2023, I realised, again, just how lucky I am.
I have work and Board roles that I love, to be in good health, and to have family and friends around me who mean the world to me. At TLC: Talk, Listen, Change we talk about the benefit of safe, healthy, and happy relationships all the time. I realised that my plan for 2023 is to do more to support my circle of support be as safe, happy and healthy as possible.
Clinical psychologist Terri Bly suggests that “New Year might be a good time to create a timeline for the next year that sets a variety of small milestones that will help us get to a bigger goal over time.”
Bly says that while it’s not as “sexy” as a traditional resolution, it works better with our psychology, and is far more likely to help us make changes we want to.
The ACEVO course and my time over Christmas both taught me that sometimes, its ok not to have a clearly defined plan with goals and milestones. Not setting a traditional New Year’s resolution can be quite freeing!
If you’re struggling to stick to one, be kinder to yourself. Think about what’s important in your life and what you’d realistically like to achieve. Break down your goal into a set of smaller actions and give yourself the time to explore how achievable these are and within what timescales.
You don’t have to wait until next year; you can start afresh now.