I have a guilty admission to make, I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. The positive intention behind them is great, but I think you can make changes anytime throughout the year, when energy is more plentiful.
New Year resolutions do work for some people, but for many of us, resolutions are challenging at the best of times. New Year’s resolutions are doubly-challenging, in particular for Northern Hemispherers in the steely-cold grip of winter. The days are short, the weather is cold (and oft miserable). It is, effectively, a time for hibernation.
Change Requires Energy
In his seminal book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about how a rocket ship has to burn (more) fuel in order to change its orbit. We are all rocket ships, and every so often, we look to switch orbits. Such a manoeuvre is a big operation, requiring planning and care, and it is not undertaken lightly – and certainly not because of a Gregorian calendar change, but because the conditions are right.
If you made a New Year resolution and it’s looking a little wobbly, acknowledge what you’re up against. Be kind to yourself. Focus on the learnings and insights you might have gained from your experience. Recognise what you have achieved and make a plan to get started again.
Most importantly, remember that any day or any time is as good as any other for making a change, and that, as I discussed in earlier posts, you benefit from a strong intention, an implementation strategy, and creating space for the change.
Now, that’s not to say that you shouldn’t set New Year’s resolutions. But it’s important to take action mindfully, with a good understanding of the landscapes you’re (a) in, (b) about to traverse, and (c) with sufficient energy to make and sustain the change.