A fresh start in the new year

How to make your new year’s resolutions work and have a lasting impact on your life.

January is part of the New Year, that fresh start, an opportunity to review the chapters of your life, and to refresh your commitment to doing better.

Many of us get carried away and set goals linked to changes we have identified we need to make for our lives.  This often results in setting goals or resolutions that are more likely grounded in wishful thinking and less in a genuine commitment to change the DNA of how we have been operating.

I too have been guilty of setting these amazing new year resolutions that got me all pumped up for January and sometimes February.  However, it was not long before I gave up on it, and felt deflated, defeated and reverted back to the way things were before. 

I realised that instead of setting resolutions or goals, it was necessary to have a much bigger picture for making a difference in my life for the year ahead.  It meant that I had to confront the different truths about myself, own it and to be willing to do something about it. 

In all honesty, the things that are not working as well as you would like it to, is because you are doing things the way you have always done it.  Any change in outcome does require you to put in the necessary work.  Below are some tips that could help you to facilitate a very different result for your life in 2019.

1.  Know what you want

The first step in knowing what it is you really want for your life.  In other words, what does it mean to have lived out your new year fully, and how does this contribute to your bigger picture for yourself.  I find that this is an ideal time to put together a vision board.  Taking 2 hours putting together a visual of what you want is a good starting point and is something you could refer to at the end of the year as you review how well you did.

2.  Commit to the vision

Step 1 was becoming clear about the vision and step two is to write down and commit to the vision.  As you become clearer on what it is you want, you also have to make the commitment to the vision.  I have been reading the stories of many athletes and musicians and what stands out is their commitment to excel at what they do.  In other words, they commit to put in the time to practice, to refine and to become the best at what they want to be.  When we look at our lives as this canvas, this too requires us to commit fully to what we want. 

3.  Taking action

Of course having a vision, visualising it as if it has happened are key ingredients for success.  However, without action, that is where it will stay – in your head.  For me personally taking action is that step of courage whereby you are willing to stick your neck out, to get over your inner critic, to act in spite of fears, and to keep acting even when things don’t seem to be going your way.  I was struck by a story of a young woman who operated in an environment that kept on reminding her that she was not smart enough, that she was unlikely to achieve what she set out to do because she did not fit their vision of what that success would be like.  Yet, she kept on acting in line with her vision, and although it felt like a long arduous road to her, whenever she fell, she would pick herself up and keep moving.  After achieving successes that others all presumed were beyond her reach, everyone reflected that what was most amazing about her feats was not that she achieved the success, was the power of belief that she held and her willingness to keep trying even when there was little to support her own belief that it was possible.

4.  Caring and Kindness

I am amazed still that when we try to do better, we forget to take care of the very vehicle that would get us to where we want to get to.  That vehicle is ourselves.  Making space in your life to care for yourself, your physical health, your emotional and spiritual wellbeing is not an add-on, but a necessity.  It is important to put it front and centre because if we do not take care of this, when we do achieve greater results, we are unable to enjoy it.  This means, making space and time to eat better, to exercise, to cultivate mindfulness.  This is the fuel that keeps us going and should not be relegated to when we have time.

5.  Community

Finally, building communities of support for ourselves is as important for getting where we want to get to.  It means incorporating space for the different needs we have in terms of community. Whether it is intimate relationships, friendships or groups that we plug into that have similar inclinations as us and support where we are headed unconditionally. 

My wish for you is that this year be a year that you really are able to reset and adventure like never before!