As humans we conform to the illusion of time because it makes life measurable and comfortable. It goes without saying that New Years resolutions are no different to goals or intentions that we set in March, or October. It’s simply the benchmark of time that we rely on.
A year ago I wrote about how to ‘Seduce yourself into 2016’ and this year I’m conscious of not disregarding the ‘advice’ that I extended such a short time ago. Before writing this I re-read my article, and it’s still relevant, because building on an existing resolution is just as important as creating new ones.
Perhaps the small difference for me is that I’ve matured into the idea of resolutions. I used to be vehemently opposed to them because I had an overwhelming desire to go with the flow and anything that challenged that fluidity was exorcised. Over time I found more of a need to hold myself accountable, in order to gracefully achieve things. I’m still flexible and I’m never heinously competitive about it, but I find it nice, albeit a little ‘square’ to write down my resolutions for the year.
As long as your resolutions are your own and they’ll keep you motivated and inspired for the year then you should approach them as you so wish.
Here’s some ideas for self-seduction in 2017 and setting goals that are personal, enjoyable and achievable. Pick one option or choose a little from column a,and a little from column f.
If you don’t know where to start try and think of one goal for each aspect of your life; work/business, health, finance, personal, relationship/love, creative, friendship… other additional categories might be relevant to you: travel, home, lifestyle, fitness etc.
Create them with feeling
Listen to your intuition and you will know where your focus should lie. If you’re feeling a need to explore and be free then travel related resolutions might be on your horizon. If you’re working towards a home then financial goals might take precedence.
Everything with a grain of salt…
Unless you want to be filthy rich and have no friends, or in a blissful relationship but have no job or have the perfect body but no roof over your head you need to factor in balance to have any type of enjoyable life. Balance makes everything perfect, and achievable. If you’re rolling into the year professing to give up alcohol but you’re usually a boozehound 3 days of the week then it’s probably an unrealistic expectation. Commit to something that you can achieve instead, like going out once per fortnight, or not drinking during the week.
Understand the why’s
The more you know about yourself and the way you work, the more power you have to make changes. If you want to get fit but never leave the office on time, and lack motivation in the evenings, go to the gym in the morning and get your exercise done before the day. Once you set yourself in a positive routine it’ll become habitual. Similarly, if you eat or drink alcohol to counteract or intensify (if masochism if your thing) emotions then you’ll know that moments of weakness are likely to coincide with emotional distress. To change your (emotional crutch) and habitual response find another option to replace alcohol or sugar. Challenge yourself to find a few other options and force yourself into those instead. Don’t forget to take note of the way you feel when you do something else instead.
Choose your words wisely
If you feel too boxed in by ‘goals’ or are steeply opposed to resolutions or intentions decide on 3 words that will be your ‘mantra’ for 2017. The idea is that they reflect broader goals but are a short cut for you (and your brain) to remember them and return you to focus quickly. They could be luminous, brave and decisive or, thoughtful, innovative and interesting.
Cut the fat
Ariana Huffington calls it a life audit and Ximena Venogoechea does a post it cull. Basically, get back to basics and be ruthless about what you want. Huffington alleviates the pressure she places on herself by extinguishing unrealistic (short term) goals like ‘learning to cross country ski’, or ‘become fluent in German’. Venogoechea instead uses a complex post it coding system to place her needs vs wants in a timeline to see what can be rejected and what should be nurtured.
Just as it’s important to be diligent and responsible take a moment to reflect on everything that you have achieved during the year. If you like expressing yourself creatively then write a few words about the year that was, or pull together your favourite quotes, images or photographs and allow yourself the luxury of reflecting on your achievements.
After all of this ruthless streamline, analysing, delving and reaching make sure you know what you love and try to do more of it. But don’t abandon the things that make you happy, even if sometimes they feel counterintuitive. If you love having a glass of champagne on a Saturday afternoon with your best friends, make sure you do that once a month. Seeing new movies; make time for them as a reward, getting your nails done; include it in you fortnightly planning. Don’t forgo the things that make you smile just because you’re working towards something at the pace of a freight train.