Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Did you jump into action right away with great intentions, hopes and expectations? What did you intend to do? Lose weight? Start exercising? Eat more healthily? Improve your sleep? You may have had other ideas. If you are still sticking to your resolutions now that it is February, you are among the minority. The majority of the people will have abandoned their resolutions, and don’t even talk about them anymore.
It is not too late to put in place a plan for success on things that really matter. I reviewed several cases of past clients to identify the common factors for success. While there is no magic way, some trends emerged: here’s what worked for many of my clients.
A key difference is not about the resolutions themselves – instead we discovered that success was determined by the preparation. Here’s how we approached the preceding steps.
The Three-Step Approach
A thorough review of the past year to determine resolutions for the New Year supported a higher success rate. We reviewed the previous year’s highlights, low points and unfinished businesses of the previous year. This took between one, two and four sessions. So much happens in a year, it is worth the time to look back. The process of review included looking for common points, themes topics, and interesting patterns – this supported a new level of learning to emerge, and also time to reach a sense of completion, stillness, and of really letting go of the past year.
In step two of the process, we undertook an exercise to discover what might be fun, interesting, sensible and manageable for the incoming year before going on to phase three – selectively choosing some specific areas of focus.
In summary, my three-step approach for success is to:
Review the past year
Brainstorm, using the new learning
Selectively choose new resolutions
Why does this approach work?
Review of the past year helps gives us good information for decision-making and we take the time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t. By formally closing the past year, you make a more effective transition to creating solid ground for future action. The process of review means that resolutions for the incoming year are planned rather than impulsive. Impulses can disappear as suddenly and as whimsically as they appeared.
The names given are changed, but the resolutions are real examples of clients that emerged using the above three-step approach:
Jo subscribed to a fitness magazine to read on the train while commuting, to support her to make better use of her fitness sessions.
Anthony called a friend he doesn’t get to see often enough to ask him to team up to go walking together.
Peter de-cluttered her bedroom to support better sleeping habits and create a space more conducive to rest.
John is actively looking for a new job that is stress-free and gives him more inner joy.
Marc is ‘speed-dating’ the opportunities for sports near his home, as a grounding for choosing a mix that gives him the fun and flexibility he desires.
Jürgen has signed up to a course about healthy cooking.
Ivan has invited his son to do join him in doing some running and they have signed up to some competitions together.
These resolutions are much more powerful because they are meaningful to the individual and they are based on evaluation of the past.
You can do like-wise. Clear two hours of your time and ask a friend for support, then follow my three-step plan: review, brainstorm, selectively choose a new action for success. When the resolutions are meaningful and based on good information, they are easier to keep. It’s not too late!