Yawn…New year resolutions – Should I? Could I? Will I fail or succeed?
Every year my inbox is full of questions around new year’s resolutions;
- Mandie should I set them?
- How do I stop myself from failing my New Year Resolutions?
- Is it a good idea to set new years goals? Does it make your more likely to succeed?
- What do I need to do to ensure I achieve my new year goals?
- How am I going to keep motivated?
And on top of these enquiries, many of my January clients will turn up with a list of things that they want to work with me on over the coming year. Thus I know it’s a hot topic for so many people, and having achieved my goals year on year, and helped thousands to do the same here’s my quick and easy guide to New years resolutions;
- Don’t set them.
Okay maybe I should elaborate on that. So here’s my REAL quick and easy guide to achieving your goals.
1.Time is a creation of humans. Animals don’t set goals, they look at the weather and notice the changing seasons and to survive and thrive they adjust. The rabbit’s fur sheds and gets thick as it picks up the signs a harsh winter is coming. The squirrel and Jay start hiding acorns in every plant pot in the garden knowing food will be in short supply soon. All things we could learn to do, okay so don’t pop around and start planting things in my garden please, but the point is, we allow ourselves to be governed by external forces and time is a powerful one.
I set my goals in August and September. Why? Because that time of year I tend to work the least and I’m likely to have a 24-day holiday – no work, no planning, no phone, no emotional intelligence work – nothing. Family, reading, painting, swimming, cycling, etc etc. I have learnt that true brain space enables so many awesome ideas to appear (and awesome opportunities seem to “magically” appear”.) But as humans we are so scared of losing out that we daren’t be off line that long. Trust me, you can and should. (With the right support and actions before!)
August breaks down into a month of reading what I fancy and not what I think will help my clients or my own emotional intelligence, professional or personal development. It’s amazing how many awesome ideas have naturally arrived like this that have inspired thousands of my audiences and clients ever since.
By the time September arrives my brain is so calm and in such a great place to be that I find that I’ve started to write a list of ideas and thoughts, and plans. Nothing is finalised. Nothing is false. Nothing is decided. I just write. Explore and think. That way in September I can use the same tools I use with my clients to work out the best possible goals for the following 12 months using all of my ideas and possible actions I created naturally.
2.And lastly why August?
Christmas is a bad time to set goals. It’s a false, Disney Land, Heroes, Magical, Faith, abundance, indulgence and belief time. No matter how bad Christmas was (Or has been in the past) at some stage in the past Christmas has held magic for you;
- The bike you wished and wished and wished for magically arriving from the man down the chimney.
- The lights of a low flying plane that you excitedly woke your parents up at 3 in the morning to say “I’ve seen Santa!” and being unable to sleep for sheer happiness, joy and excitement.
- The year you had that blazing row and everyone was falsely happy when all they wanted to do was watch TV.
- TV – Oh how we love our films, but even in Die Hard it ends well for the good guys. TV is packed with feel good TV that makes our hearts melt and helps us believe anything is possible. What’s wrong with that you say? Well nothing, as long as you don’t assume that someone else’s journey through hell is how your journey will end too. Or that someone else’s dream results will magically be yours because you believe. Don’t get me wrong, faith is critical for success and the ability to bounce back and deal with adversity is possibly the single biggest thing you need (other than powerful communication) to succeed in life. But they are not enough.
Add the feel good factor, the mountain of food, the time with those you love, doing what you want and the wrapped up walks, your view of the world can get a little out of perspective in the holidays. I often hear clients say “Why can’t I be that happy all of the time!” And then we discover that before we start building empires or climbing career ladders what they really want is happiness.
And that my friend is accessible today, no matter what life looks like. Get back to the 9 to 5. School runs. Commuters hell. Bills. Chores and daily life and suddenly you can feel like you’ve never had a holiday!
ACTION; Compare how you felt on the 24th of December to say the 5th of January or the 21st of January? All the same? If not then now is definitely not the time to set goals.
3.Too many people – lastly January is not a good time to set goals because there are too many people about. Parties, long meals, games, gatherings and TV – mean we are a wash with so many people’s ideas and views. If you are looking to achieve big or overcome adversity the answers will never start with other people.
A perfect example occurred only yesterday when I went for a walk on the beach and phoned to see if my nephews would like to join me. My sister said “The car says it’s 2 degrees out there and the weather man said it’s ‘going to be bitterly’” Luckily for me I don’t watch the news a lot (Have a listen of the terminology weather men use. They now add emotion to weather.
Can rain be grim? Or is it a view of it?
Can it be miserable out there? Or can it be wet/dark/windy?
Be aware of what you hear and if it has any impact on you.
My sister was allowing a car and a weatherman to dictate if she should walk on the beach! As it was I saw the most stunning huge red/pink sunset over the water and I was of only 2 people that got to enjoy it! Okay me and my dog had coats on that would keep us warm on an Arctic adventure but it was a beautiful walk. One I will treasure for life.
I could have missed that if I’d let other people’s views impact on my actions. Okay that’s a pretty tame example, however I hear this kind of external comment from clients all of the time. And it is only by working with their coach they are able to see how limiting other people can become in your own head. Christmas is a time traditionally of little brain space and a lot of talk. So do question if you are being manipulated by other people?
Which leads us on to…
4.Wherever you go, wherever you are right now someone is attempting to control you. Scary right. Don’t panic, it’s not aliens or a government plan to inject you wit Nano technology, however words and opinions are everywhere. Marketing is worth billions to economies around the world. It enables people to be manipulated, encouraged, inspired (you choose the word) into buying everything and anything – watches, log burners, phones, vegan food, cars, clothes, holidays. Everything! World economies rely on the population buying what they see.
And while we all know this, it can mean that we find ourselves working towards goals that aren’t even ours. While maybe you don’t want a giant behemoth 4 x 4, it’s highly likely elements of the lifestyle the advertisers created you felt something for.
ACTION; Think of the adverts that pop up that you notice. Is there a reoccurring theme? An emotion they create?
It’s not a bad thing to note, however be aware of why you notice it and how it makes you feel. (These can be good indicators to some of the drivers in your mind – and they are always great to know.) So question your desires, your goals, your resolutions, your ambitions. We all know the stats on gym membership, with research saying that those starting a fitness regime over 50% will quit within 6 months, so look behind the ads, and below the belly and really understand your motivation for wanting to do it.
Like any goal it has to be from the inside, with the right powerful motivators, drivers, beliefs and plans of action. And I’ve rarely seen them created after a blow out Christmas, so whether it’s a healthier body, bank account or social life – know what drove you to the goal/resolution.
So lastly a bit of honestly. If I set my goals in August/September how am I doing?
Before I tell you how I’m doing I will share a brief sneak into how I set my goals/resolutions. And that is to;
- Dismiss nothing. Write everything down.
- (Do your emotional intelligence stuff – of all the work I do on myself this will never cease at the level of intensity I do because I know how powerful it is for my success, however there is too much to include here and I’m happy to write more if you would like this, just message me.)
- Prioritise the top goals and why.
- Create a stupidly long list of ideas on how to achieve them. Then with the same tools I use with my clients, plan the first 3 to 5 actions, then the next 3 to 5 actions, etc etc. Allow breathing room. Then I do this for the years plan and yes I diary space too!
- Create a sentence that takes items 1 to 4 and simplifies them into one sentence to remind me of what I wish to achieve, why, how, when, where, with whom and how will I know I’m there.
- Create just 1 word for each goal that resonates so powerfully from item 5 that you never lose your way. NO matter what life throws at you, no matter what adversity, you have this internal magnetised focus to achieve it with just 1 word!
I will share a couple of my goal words as examples (I won’t share my goals, actions, strategies, plans, tools etc – that’s half a dozen blogs in itself!) but just so you can get the idea;
Walk Breath Read
These may seem like 3 words to you, however for me they are months of planning, action and already some results that even I think “Wow, that’s just awesome!”
Keeping your goals simple works for so many reasons, not least because life can get in the way. For me I’ve realised that my year doesn’t run January to December, my year runs September to August. In this way I’m on my own agenda, removing so many of the elements that stop us from achieving. It could be that you discover that you need to reinvent your year so that you can optimise the results you get too.
Do let me know your thoughts and if you are on my confidential mastermind group or are a client share how I can help further and I promise to do all I can. I often hear people say things like;
- This is my year!
- 2019 is going to be awesome.
- I deserve great things this year, I’ve worked so hard.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you deserve it or because 2018 was awful that this year will be any different unless you take some serious action!