As the first of January approaches I am reflecting, as a life, career and leadership coach, on New Year’s resolutions, why we often don’t keep them, and what we can do to change that pattern.

Collins defines a New Year’s resolution as the making “of a [firm] decision at the beginning of the year to start doing something or stop doing something.”

There is something determined about a resolution, and yet we often don’t turn that into sustained reality. We know as we are making that solemn decision to change something that we will slip back into old patterns within days or weeks – sometimes hours.

What can we do to have a different outcome?

  • Reflect on what the status quo is and on a scale of 1 to a 100 rate how satisfied you are with that. Think of all aspects of your life.
  • Think about three things you really want to change, what you will gain from doing that, and what will you lose if you don’t.
  • Set three clear, realistic and measurable goals for yourself – ones which excite you and will bring transformative change to your life.
  • Have an action plan with timelines for achieving them. Have tiny manageable steps so that you don’t set yourself up for failure.
  • What are the things that stand in the way of success, and what can you do to overcome those obstacles?
  • Where are you stuck in a pattern of thinking, behaving or relating, and what are the new habits you would like to form. Keep a record of anything you do which represents changing a pattern. Celebrate the changes.
  • Consider a mindfulness practice which will keep you in the present moment and bring greater focus and calm to your life. There are so many resources out there. One I can recommend highly is Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Daniel Penman.
  • Consider engaging a life coach, career coach or leadership coach who will help you to articulate your dream for the year, think strategically, set and achieve inspiring goals, be accountable and tap into all your internal and external resources. Your coach will be your thinking and accountability partner and champion.

I leave you with some new year’s inspiration from Mary Sarton.

New Year’s Resolve

The time has come
To stop allowing the clutter
To clutter my mind
Like dirty snow,
Shove it off and find
Clear time, clear water.
Time for a change,
Let silence in like a cat
Who has sat at my door
Neither wild nor strange
Hoping for food from my store
And shivering on the mat.
Let silence in.
She will rarely mew,
She will sleep on my bed
And all I have ever been
Either false or true
Will live again in my head.
For it is now or not
As old age silts the stream,
To shove away the clutter,
To untie every knot,

To take the time to dream,
To come back to still water.

Posted by Juliette Gyure – life coach; career coach; transition coach; and leadership coach.