Ah yes, a new year and therefore a new set of resolutions. But, let’s be honest, resolutions tend to mostly last the duration of January, or perhaps March if we’re pushing it. If anyone reading this has carried through their resolution for the full 12 months, or for life – congratulations, I consider you superior.
With that, it got me thinking, why do resolutions never seem to last? Is it the pressure, the fact we label it instead of letting it happen without making a fuss, or because society has put this pressure on us to even have a resolution in the first place?
I decided to take it to the people. The people - in this case, person - who knows the scientific shenanigans behind the psychology of it all. Enter, Style’s expert psychologist, John Barletta. I hit-up John to get the what’s what on everything habitual, goal driven and how to actually pull through with a New Years resolution.
Over to you, Doctor B.
The start of a new year is often a time when we clean the house, refresh the garden, tidy-up around the office, and make some resolutions. With nice weather, you can focus on getting things in place and finding a place for everything. If you have outer order, you can enjoy inner calm. You made plans on what you wanted to achieve, right? Well, now is the time review and re-examine how realistic those plans actually were.
The new year is an excellent time to reflect upon how you’ve been travelling thus far, and adjust behaviours and plans as necessary. You can do this by ticking off completed items from your list of goals, and comparing how much your life looks like your vision-board!
In light of how you’ve been doing, how healthy and happy you are and what is important to you, the next step for your life journey is to revisit your big picture. This means considering your relative strengths, identifying your passions, developing inspiring goals, accessing resources and support people (like mentors), and deciding on a timeframe. Remember, goals without timeframes are simply wishes destined to be only visions in your imagination.
It is invigorating and energising to work from the premise that (almost) anything is possible. For myself, to make anything probable requires a little luck, quality people around me and consistent daily focus on work in a way that assumes I can’t fail.
Yes, I believe the glass is ¾ full!
Here’s a few tips to consider when looking ahead for the new year and what you want to achieve.
1. Ensure your goals are based on your own values.
2. Know your strengths and focus on using them to get to where you want to be.
3. Be realistic and aim for progress not perfection.
4. Visualise what it will look like and feel like to achieve your goals (have only two or three goals).
5. Think about how you’ve been successful before and use a similar process.
6. Have a mentor, partner or coach help you learn the necessary skills, and use them for accountability.
7. Reward yourself along the way (remember, it takes a few weeks to a few months to form a new habit or routine).
8. If/when you don’t succeed, work out what got in the way, and deal with that factor.
9. Be sure your stated goals are observable and specific.
10. Work on your goals regularly, typically daily.
11. Remember that almost anything is possible with time, patience, and commitment (don’t wait for motivation!).
Dr John Barletta is a Counselling, Consulting and Clinical Psychologist working out of Grange, QLD.