The Challenge: broken resolutions
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? This year, I’m going to… join the gym, stop eating so much chocolate, or whatever your personal vice might be. Then about halfway through January, or early February if I’ve worked really hard at it, I feel completely deflated. I’ve joined the gym, been once, and the rest of the cash might as well have gone down the drain. Every morsel of chocolate that has passed my lips has resulted in massive guilt trips. Which makes for a pretty miserable winter – and a pretty miserable me. It’s a format that’s designed to fail.
So a long time ago, I resolved to give up new years’ resolutions. It’s the one resolution I have stuck to.
But it’s a shame, isn’t it? There’s something fresh and inviting about a year that’s just begun, that’s filled with possibilities and hope. How can I make the most of that, use it to improve myself without it ending in self-condemnation when I inevitably fail?
The Solution: change the process
My aunt found a way. I visited her one January, and she was busy making a kneeler for the church where my cousin got married as a way of saying thank you. It was her new year’s goal: she wasn’t going to give up anything, but she was going to finish that kneeler within the next twelve months. And she did, too.
I tried this approach last year for the first time. I had three goals, and I succeeded in one of them: getting a new job! I thought I’d be kicking myself about not succeeding in the other two, but actually the sense of accomplishment from getting that one, especially in a pandemic, overrides that. And although I worked hard at it, scouring the internet for something that would suit me, actually because the goal is the issue rather than the lifestyle, putting it on hold for a few days or even a month was not a stick to beat myself with. It was a rest.
It worked so well, I’m doing it again this year. I’ve got five goals this time, and will be happy to complete half of them. Some are big, like finding somewhere new to live; some require me to develop healthier habits, like running 10k; and some are just good fun – I’m going to try at least one open mic night this year, or perhaps finally finish that novel I started in lockdown.
And there’s no reason for it to be limited to personal goals. There are plenty of professional goals to aim for, too! At Eximia, we want to spread our knowledge of share plans and rewards, and our love of communications, far and wide. To meet that aim this year, our goal is to launch our own training offering, empowering share plan and reward professionals to communicate effectively with their colleagues.
What are you doing this year? You could stay with the resolutions, and maybe you’ll have better luck than me. Or you could join me, and aim for an overarching goal. Or you could try something entirely different. Why not:
- Have a different plan for each month. You could do dry January, vegetarian February, contact-all-my-relatives March, and so on.
- Try new things. Maybe a new dish once a week, or a new hobby every quarter.
- Make a bucket list, with big and small dreams. Tick off the small ones regularly, and aim for one big one a year.
And remember to celebrate the small hurdles you overcome – even if you haven’t reached the peak yet, it’s important to recognise the journey you’ve already made.