Got any New Year's resolutions for 2016? How will you make sure you stick to them this time? There's one key ingredient every resolution needs for it to last the whole year.
After every New Year’s Eve, I get the urge to clean out old papers and stuff I ‘might need one day’. This year, I came across the New Year’s resolutions I wrote four years ago. And I still haven’t achieved half of the things on the list! So I’d had another go at them the next year, and the next year…
At first, I put my poor achievement down to laziness or a severe case of pathetic willpower. But while that explained the resolutions I bombed on, what about the ones I actually achieved?
I looked at them a bit closer. The ones I actually did were things like saving more money (I wanted to visit a friend overseas), getting fitter (so I wouldn’t be left behind when I did a hiking trip with my very energetic brother) and doing a cooking course (toasted sandwiches as the evening meal was wearing thin).
I realised that the resolutions I achieved gave me something I really wanted (like a holiday) or got me out of things I didn’t want (endless toasties). Other resolutions didn’t work because I didn’t have a good reason for doing them. They were just nice ideas, or I grabbed at them because I thought I ‘should’.
So this year, I’ve decided to focus on what I want for myself, and why I want it. It looks a bit like this:
· I’ll eat healthy meals and walk every day because I want to live longer and be around for my family. I also don’t want to look red and puffy when I walk up the stairs.
· I’ll take breaks more often because I want to be less stressed and more productive when I’m working, and just feel better.
I know the day will come when I start to make excuses for why I should sleep instead of walk. It’s an annual event that happens around February when my resolutions look more like fantasies dreamt up late one night at a boozy party. Then they start to fade away…
But this year, I’ve got an answer for those excuses. I haven’t made a vague, empty promise. I don’t have unrealistic expectations of my willpower. My resolution is backed by a strong purpose that will give me something I really want.
And when I find this year’s resolutions in a pile of clutter in a few year’s time, I’m expecting a completely different reaction.