Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope...
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." - Albert Einstein
New Year's resolutions - where did it all begin? In 153 B.C., a mythical Roman king was placed at the head of the calendar. King Janus was blessed with two faces, one to look back on the past, the other to look forward to the future. Janus, the god of beginnings, gave his name to the first month of each year, January and became the symbol of New Year’s resolutions.
Making and breaking resolutions
And so, each year, millions of people all over the world make good intentions at the beginning of their calendar year (though the date varies in different parts of the world). And each year, some succeed in attaining them and others succeed in breaking them. In which category do you fall?
Look back to last year and the list you made:
- How many goals have you ticked as being achieved?
- How many have come back onto this year’s list?
"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow." Einstein’s brilliant quote encourages us to look back and learn from the past, enjoy the present and create the groundwork for the future.
Have you made your resolutions for this year yet?
Perhaps you have a clear list of what you want to change and achieve. If you’re still looking for ideas or haven’t had time to think about it, the following popular resolutions may serve as a prompt:
- live a healthier lifestyle
- earmark more leisure time
- go for a promotion, apply to a new employer, or even change your career
- be more assertive, learn to speak up for yourself
- put some money aside, despite the challenges of today
- become more organised and feel in control of your life
- overcome a fear of public speaking and become a fantastic presenter
- contribute to the community
- support the environment, save the planet
"We spend January 1st walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives... not looking for flaws, but for potential."
- Ellen Goodman
Barriers vs success
It’s one thing to make a resolution and another to make it work. So, what might stop you from succeeding? Are your goals unrealistic, are the tasks to reach them too time-consuming or too difficult, are they impossible to fit into your lifestyle, have you made too many goals, or are not sufficiently committed to them? Here is a useful checklist for success:
- Make sure your goals are realistic and achievable, so you don’t shoot yourself in the foot before you even begin.
- Make your goals specific, not general, and vague.
- Make sure the tasks involved in achieving them or not too onerous – so you can fit them into your lifestyle.
- Avoid making too many goals, better to have one or two and succeed, than make five that stay on the list only to come back in 2024.
Here is an example of how to make a great resolution or goal:
- General resolution: ‘To have more leisure time’. Now make it specific...
- Specific resolution: ‘To finish work on time to make way for leisure’. Now make it time focussed.
- Time focussed: ‘To see family on Sundays and go out with friends in the evenings.’ Now make it more realistic, so it fits into your lifestyle.
- Realistic, specific, time focussed: ‘To see family for Sunday lunch and meet friends on Tuesdays and Fridays.’
Apply this process across your goals.
Keep promises to yourself
No matter how keen you feel at the start of the year, it isn’t easy to maintain some or all resolutions. These tips will help you keep going:
- Make sure your goals are specific enough and realistic for you and your lifestyle.
- Review your goals in mid-February – once routines are well back to normal.
- Set yourself start and finish dates.
- Have a realistic number of goals – then prioritise them, making your top priority your starting point.
- Get started – it’s a tremendous boost to have moved forward.
- Set times and dates to work on your goals and stick to those appointments.
- Break tasks into ‘bite size’ chunks – they’ll be much easier to start and continue.
- Write everything down – you’ll clear your head for creative thoughts and problem-solving.
Where a resolution or goal is complex, make detailed plans of how you’ll achieve it, listing your tasks and blocking out time in your diary to work on them. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start or your goal may stay on the drawing board forever. Get started.
Tell people who will encourage you, not those who will discourage you or pick holes in your plans. Many people have great ideas, but you need more than a great idea. If you are organised, committed and persevering, you will realise your resolutions.
Intentions or goals? Help is at hand
Having trouble getting started? Want a plan and encouragement to stay focussed? Life coaching can help you to define, maintain and achieve your resolutions. To find out more or to arrange an appointment, get in touch with me.