Why we should forget New Year’s resolutions

I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions.

Don’t misunderstand me; there is nothing wrong with making a resolution to change an irksome habit, or bring in healthy routines to help us feel fitter physically, mentally, spiritually and financially.  Nothing at all.

As I said in an earlier blog, ‘The good thing about anniversaries, even the painful ones, is that they give us a start date to check our progress; to ask “what have I achieved in the last year? What is it I haven’t yet accomplished that I thought I would?” ’

Having a date such as the start of a New Year, to allow us to reflect and review what we tried, how we lived and what worked and didn’t work during that time period, gives us the opportunity to start afresh. 

For many of us, the Christmas / New Year period is a time that we have away from work and the everyday pressures we become acclimatised to when we are in the midst of the battle to get through yet another work day.  I hear you!  It is this time, with less structure, that allows us to let other thoughts into our over worked brain. When these ideas are explored, they may highlight areas we wish to permanently change.

According to research by Richard Wiseman, a psychologist at the University of Hertfordshire, of the 700 people his team asked about their strategies for keeping a New Year’s Resolution, 78% had failed to do so, because they focused on using willpower alone to achieve their goal. Having sat opposite a bowl of crisps on Boxing Day at a friend’s place, I know how hard relying on willpower alone is!

Designers ask lots of questions.  It’s our job.  If we can’t have a clear understanding of what it is that our client wants and needs, how can we truly meet their goals and aspirations?  Impossible right?

When briefing with stakeholders, I often find that it is difficult for staff to articulate exactly ‘why’ they want a particular item included in the design.  It can get uncomfortable as I probe deeper to gain an understanding of their requirements; not just because I am putting them on the spot, but because often it requires the client to look at processes, routines and ways of doing things that may no longer benefit the way they work now.

Likewise, as we resolve to create the life we want, we need to get a bit uncomfortable.  Yes, we want to lose weight, but it is when we are truly honest with ourselves that we may see the excess kilos are really just a mask for an interior longing or need.

What questions can we ask as we move from making a quick New Year’s Resolution, to a focussed Life Resolution?

  • Why must I make this change? Is this change really important to me on a deeper level?

  • Why have I got to this point? – When did what I am doing work for me in the past?

  • Why did it work then and not now? What has changed in my life?

  • What will my life LOOK like when I make this change?

  • What will my life FEEL like deep down inside when I make this adjustment?

  • What will be the SOUNDS that accompany this modification should I chose to embrace it?

  • What behaviours do I need to alter to make this Life Resolution work?

  • How does transforming this existing pattern affect my personal belief systems?

  • Are other people facilitating my current behaviour? How can I take back control of what I am doing?

  • Who can I reach out to help me to attain my goals? An accountability mentor; a trusted friend, a coach?

  • And again, WHY am I really doing this?

In everything we choose, especially at this time of year when there is a wee bit more time to reflect and resolve to understand the real reason of what we do, we can use our own unique ‘interior design’ to build actionable Life Resolutions that we have a chance of keeping.

At certain times in our life it is normal to feel stuck. If you are ready to become the architect in your life and Design You® feel free to check out how personal coaching, attending a Design You workshop or buying the book, will help. There’s more on my website www.tinamurray.com. #designyou