Well it’s here again – that time of year when we promise ourselves all these great things for the year ahead. If New Year’s resolutions work for you, that’s fantastic. Enjoy!
But did you know that the odds are not very good that you’ll keep up your good intentions? Here are some jolly New Year’s resolution facts and figures:
- Just 8% of people overall achieve their New Year’s resolutions 1
- Three in four of those who did achieve their resolutions believe that sharing their goals helped them to reach them2
- Men achieved their goal 22% more often when small measurable goals were set (e.g. ‘lose a pound a week’ instead of ‘lose weight’), while women succeeded 10% more when they got support from their friends3
- The older we get, the less likely we are to set resolutions and those we do, we tend to be less successful at achieving: 39% of those in their twenties achieve their resolutions every year or every other year compared with less than 15% of those over 504
- I know I personally have resolved to lose about 2 stone for the last, well… 25 years or so!
Whether you make resolutions or not, the start of the New Year is a special time and it can feel good to mark it in some way. My friend and colleague Tony Barton and I used to run annual New Year Coaching retreats to help people to celebrate and harvest the gifts from the previous year and launch people into a fresh new year. They were fun! Now I do something closer to home either by myself of with a couple of friends. Here are some ideas to help you do this for yourself:
Clear a few hours in your schedule. Invite some friends to join you if you’d like to. Make sure you are distraction-free (turn that phone off!) and you have your favourite pens, a stack of paper and a plentiful supply of hot drinks and snacks to hand.
Start by looking back on the previous year. If there’s unfinished business, it’s not so easy to make a fresh start in the New Year, so make sure you tie a pretty bow – metaphorically speaking – on the previous year. Look for the highlights and the key points that you want to remember and capture those (I find it helpful to have my calendar to hand to jog my memory). Here are some good questions to ask yourself:
What have been the highlights of the last year?
- What are you most proud of? Grateful for? Happy about?
- What have been your biggest disappointments?
- What have been your biggest lessons, learning or growth points?
- If you had a headline for the last year what would it be? (e.g. ‘Sally starts to head in the Right Direction’)
Now it’s time to look to the year ahead:
- What would you love for yourself this coming year?
- What would make you most proud and grateful and happy this coming year?
- Imagine it’s a year from now – January 2020 – and you’ve had a really successful year. What have you achieved that has made you feel good?
- What are the habits you would like to break? Behaviours you would love to develop?
- Describe the person you would like to become this year?
The Wheel of Life is a great visioning tool for any new start, so it fits right in at New Year. Take a look at this post on how to use it. After you do the whole wheel, sit back and look at the big picture of what you want for your life and identify the things that would make the biggest difference to you in 2019. What would be three key focus areas for you to focus on this year? Don’t be tempted to choose more than three at a time though or you may get overwhelmed and not end up achieving any of them. Using the Wheel of Life builds a creative tension between where you are now and where you want to be and draws you towards it.
Last year, I had the opportunity to run workshops for hundreds of people in India and Cambodia, getting them to share their dreams. What stood out strongly is that dreams create a resonance: a compelling vision for people that they can connect with like a north star. Whether you’re dreaming of better health or a promotion or better relationships, if it’s felt from your heart, it will have a lot of magnetic power.
Did you know that by just spending some meditative time getting in touch with your dreams or the vision that you hold for yourself can put you into a different state neurophysically? By being in a dream-like state of relaxation – perhaps by taking a few minutes to close your eyes and visualise your perfect year – the alpha waves in your brain heighten your intuition and open up the creative side of the brain.5 Imagining our dreams makes us feel good and programmes the brain for success. Much better than a hungover resolution, made vaguely just because it’s January 1st!
So what are you waiting for? As Henry Thoreau said, “If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
And if you need some help, with either discovering or chasing your dream, give me a call. I’d love to help.