She was sitting cross legged on a picnic blanket, her slender arms lazily draped over her knees. With a bottle of hipster craft beer in one hand and rollie cigarette in the other she rolled her eyes…
‘Urgh! New Year resolutions… they’re SO pedestrian. Why should ambition be tied to a particular time of year?’
To be fair, I did agree with her but I also knew everything she said had been directly lifted from a clever thought piece on New Year’s resolutions that had recently gone viral. It was the first time anyone had properly questioned the true value of New Year resolutions and as a result it was quite trendy to be openly reticent of the resolution making practice.
I can understand the resistance to New Year resolutions but for some reason coming from this woman in particular it really rubbed me the wrong way. She was a friend of a friend I’d heard quite a lot about. She was an ‘artist’ although no one could tell me what her medium was. Rail thin and gorgeous, she ate more carbs than any living human I’d ever met and didn’t appear to ever exercise. Her family was very wealthy and she didn’t have to worry about money so she was essentially unemployed and loaded. Most of her actions had no consequences, aside from pending liver failure and/or lung cancer from her excessive drinking and smoking and those consequences were so far in the future they clearly weren’t a concern to her.
I enjoy a good philosophical debate but I really struggle to take anyone seriously who’s never had to work for anything. Her point was valid, it’s just in her position of unbelievable privilege it sounded ridiculous. Especially as she wasn’t ambitious at all because she literally did nothing but smoke, drink, sleep and tell people with proper jobs to just ‘chill out’ and ‘let the universe take care of you’.
I don’t know about you but if I ‘let the universe take care of me’ pretty much nothing happens. I need to set goals and make resolutions so I earn money, stay healthy and lead a happy life. The point is, I bloody love New Year resolutions and even if you break them after a few days, who cares? Setting intentions to improve yourself and become a better person is never a wasted exercise and if you fail, you can always learn from that failure and figure out how to set yourself up for success next time.
You also don’t have to go down the traditional path of choosing tangible goals like losing weight, going back to study or writing a book. Here are a few New Year resolution ideas for 2018, especially if traditional resolutions and goals aren’t your bag.
1. Choose a word, not a resolution
I’m a part of a few business masterminds and there’s this lovely trend of people choosing a word for the year rather than a resolution. A friend of mine has chosen ‘shine’ as her word to encourage herself to get out from behind her computer, enter awards and take praise as it comes to her which is something she really struggles with. Another friend has chosen ‘balance’ to remind her to leave work on time and to stop compromising her health for her career.
My word for this year is ‘spark’. My word last year was ‘hustle’ and hustle I did. My mind set for 2018 is to spark. Spark ideas, spark movements and spark myself to enjoy the career I’ve built and do more of the things I love. I’m looking to 2018 with joy and vibrancy. I’m really looking forward to it actually.
Have a think about what word might be your word this year and set it as your intention. You might even like to have it printed as art work and hang it on your wall so you’re constantly reminded about what your focus for the year is.
2. Choose an identity, not an action
Try ‘I will be the type of person who exercises everyday’ rather than ‘I will exercise everyday’. By applying your resolution as a personality trait rather than an action that needs to be ticked off every day, it will re-frame your resolution as not-negotiable rather than an action that’s optional.
3. Set resolutions for yourself and no one else
Losing weight, quitting smoking and saving for a house are all great resolutions but you’re not going to be able to stick to them unless you want to achieve them. You can’t stick to a good habit unless you want to, so make sure it’s something you really want to achieve rather than something your parents, siblings or partner wants for you.
You know the song A Spoonful of Sugar from Mary Poppins? This should be your anthem for your New Year resolutions. A positive attitude makes all the difference. Try not to set resolutions that you’re going to resent – frame it in a positive way so you’re not feeling deprived or grumpy about your goals. No one likes grumpy goals.
5. Choose just one thing
One mistake a lot of people make when setting New Year Resolutions is they try too hard to do too many things. Saving money, focusing on career, moving house – it’s all too much. Pick one thing. Regular exercise or salad every day. Focus on that one thing and you’ll dramatically increase your chances of success.
6. Pick a start date
There’s no rule that says you have to start your New Year resolutions on the first of January. I feel like any time before March qualifies and any time after that is still an amazing time to make resolutions. Don’t get hung up on resolutions being January specific. Pick a date and start then.
7. Don’t panic of you can’t think of anything
Resolutions are not compulsory and if you can’t think of anything – have a year off! If you’re generally pretty satisfied with life and you want to cruise for a bit – bloody well do it. Take advantage of your happy life and current satisfaction and roll with it. You lucky thing.
8. Have a failure back up plan
If you stuff up your New Year resolutions, have a plan for getting back on the horse. It might be a case of starting again, re-working the plan or totally changing direction. Have a little plan in your head in case things go south. The path to achievement is never a straight line, so just chill and re-boot if things don’t go the way you thought it would.
9. Be extremely specific
Put numbers on it. Pick how many times a week you’re going to exercise, choose how much money you’re save each month and put a number on how many of your dream jobs you’re going to apply for this year. Numbers don’t lie so use them to set your solid goals.
Oh and if you have some things you’re holding on to that you need to let go of before 2018, read this.