Welcome to 2012

I know we’re halfway through January but I’ve had a slow start to the year with a long break visiting family and friends on the other side of the world.

So here I am on my first post of the year, and I’ve been thinking about New Year’s Resolutions. There was a flurry of posts on this subject from Christmas until about 5 January including a timely reminder from HBR that some resolutions might be about stopping ineffective behaviour at work, and the advertising to join a gym/lose weight/stop smoking and generally improve your life has escalated. But it was a quiet comment from a colleague I respect that inspired me to write this.

“I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions,” she said “you can decide any day of the year to make a change in your life”.

I don’t do resolutions either, but there is something healthy about taking some time to look back at what you’ve achieved, and what you’d like to improve and the end of year seems a natural moment to do that. However natural it is to translate that into resolutions it seems we’re not good at keeping them.

Around half of those who set resolutions succeed in keeping them occasionally, only 8% always keep them, compared with 24% who never keep them according to Daily Infographic.

So what goes wrong? Well, we’re too ambitious, making resolutions that are “significantly unrealistic”, according to Psychology Today. We’ll also think that solving one issue – reducing debt or exercising more – will fix our whole life and then then become discouraged when that turns out not to be the case.

There is plenty of advice all over the internet on how to improve your chances of keeping your resolutions the most common items are; focus on one goal, make it specific, make it measurable, take it in small steps, celebrate success – and laugh at failure.

Psychology Today’s list also reflects the advice of my wise colleague “Don’t wait till New Year’s eve to make resolutions. Make it a year long process, every day”


Image New Year Mosaic 2008 /maplemama/ CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

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