The time has come for evaluation of the year that has passed.
Maybe it was one of those never-ending years and you’re waiting for the clock to strike so you can start all over. Maybe it was an alright year with some ups and downs, but mostly joy. Maybe it was an extraordinary year and you fear that as the clock strikes midnight the spell will disappear and your carriage will turn into a pumpkin. Whichever it is, there are ways to help you create a great New Year.
To create great New Year’s resolutions that will actually stick, the first thing you have to ask yourself is where you are at now? What in your life is rock bottom, good and frigging fabulous? What are the patterns in your life you really need to change? You often find these by looking at the results you create over and over again because some pattern or another led to these being created. What will you have to work to change, and what will you have to work on to maintain?
You need to do this evaluation to find out where you are now. Otherwise, you don’t know your starting point—and all too many people assume they can fly before they are walking.
What would you truly love?
The second step to creating a good New Year’s resolution is to find out what you’d truly love and how you’d love to achieve that. People often box themselves in unnecessarily and end up creating resolutions that won’t stick because they simply don’t value them enough.
Let’s take a classic scenario: you want to get fit. So, you tell yourself you are going to eat food you don’t like and go to a gym you don’t enjoy at a time when your life is already filled with other activities. How is this going to make your life better? You might very well need to get fit—fitness is important for both health and happiness—but how you do it is important, too.
You have to find not just an end goal you desire, but a road you desire, too. There will be some sort of exercise you enjoy, be it walks around the city or getting a scuba diving license. Exercising itself will make you feel good as your body will send hormones of happiness flying, but those hormones won’t be enough unless you do something you find fun.
There might still be an element you don’t enjoy that you need to reach your end result—say one hour a week at the gym with a personal trainer—but that’s one hour compared to seven hours a week. The other six you can spend doing exercising you enjoy, be it gardening or dancing.
As for diet, it’s partially about choosing something you know you’d enjoy and partially about slowly getting used to something new. The more we eat something, the more the body craves it. Adding some greens to each meal or eating a salad before each meal will likely lead to you starting to crave greens after a month or so. Maybe sooner.
The point is: choose a way forward that you know you can handle. Do the transformation slowly and pick a diet you know you’re comfortable sticking with. The Paleo diet for vegans or a vegan diet for meat lovers might just not do the trick.
Don’t over do it.
If you have a tightly packed schedule and your New Year’s resolutions include doing something that would take up ten hours a week, what are the chances for success? Rather find ways to do it using less time or gradually introduce it and add more hours as you go along. If you go all out too soon, chances are you will get overwhelmed and stop.
For example, rather than trying to figure out a new diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you can start with breakfast, then include lunch, then dinner, then drinks, and finally the snacks. Trying to learn to cook new dishes for everything at once might very well lead to ten extra hours in the kitchen and general mayhem. Start small, build big.
In short: going cold turkey isn’t always the solution.
The same goes for exercise: twenty minutes a day of great exercise is a lot better than none. You can get a lot done in twenty minutes. Trying to drive to the gym, do a one-hour session, shower and drive home again, however, will take up maybe two hours and you likely won’t have time for it every day.
Really focus on what’s truly important to do to get the results you want. Often you will find yourself focusing on things that aren’t as important as you’d think.
For example, you’re overworked and tired because you are launching a business. You think that once the business is launched THEN you can spend more time on your social life, date again and look after your health.
The truth is, you’ll be even busier when the business is launched and what’s making you miserable isn’t that it hasn’t launched yet, but that you aren’t living in the meantime. Sure you have to work hard, but without a life, it won’t be worth it in the end anyway.
Likewise, if you are always prioritizing one thing, or focusing on one area, but not getting the results you want, then you are probably not focusing on the right thing.
If you want to launch a product line, but focus solely on branding and marketing not on the actual products and logistics, then, no matter how developed the idea and brand, there will never be a business. We tend to focus on what we are comfortable with, not necessarily what will yield the best results. If you can’t do something, get help.
Often what we think is the solution isn’t. It will only fuel our previous patterns and lead to the same old results. Really look at what would make you happy.
To Sum it Up…
A New Year feels like a clean slate—a new dawn. Use it to your advantage. It is a chance to maintain, or keep building on what you have already accomplished and change what you do not love about your life already.
Find out what it is you’d truly like. Not just what you think you should do. Then find the best way to do that so you don’t only love the end result, but the journey getting there. And, make it as easy as possible for yourself.