“New Year, New Me” is probably one of the most overused phrases as December 31 of each year approaches. It seems like an arbitrary point to inspire self-improvement and everybody is hell bent on doing better. The gym’s are flooded in the first week of January with people ready to make a change, a sentiment which only seems to taper off in motivation throughout the year.
In the last week of December and the early weeks of January of each year, almost every catch up I have with a friend is overpowered with “so what are your New Year’s resolutions?” I often find myself scrambling to think about what exactly my New Year’s resolutions are. In all honesty though, I genuinely think that setting a resolution is a good way to help you reflect on the year that has been, what’s important to you, and focus on who you want to become. This process has allowed myself to grow so much as a person; I’m not the person I was a year or two ago and that brings me so much peace.
Here are my 5 reasons why you should start thinking about your New Year’s resolutions now.
Like a game, the year has 4 quarters. Why wait until the full game is over to start your reflection? You can already start on the aspects that have already gone by.
This one is a game-changer (no pun intended) once you flip your perspective. People find comfort and solace in New Year’s resolutions because it sets a point in time in which you can differentiate things, but we can do that in so many different ways. We can work in weeks (each Monday provides a fresh start for the week!) or in days even (tomorrow will bring a better day than yesterday). One thing I like to ponder on as I set my New Year’s is how the year has gone in quarters so far.
For me this year, January to March were fun and filled with summer adventures. Everything felt relaxed and care-free. As we moved into April to June, there was still a light undertone to the year for me and I had my first international holiday to the US since Covid had kicked off which made this quarter particularly fun. July to September flipped the switch as whilst I still had lots of fun things to look forward to, the stress with work ramped up and the winter blues kicked in a little as I returned. As we head into the final quarter, or the home stretch as I like to call it, I can already see the parts of this year that I want to take on to the next. One of my goals is to not take work too seriously and to not let a stressful day in the office bring my whole mood down, and to leave work stresses at work and go home with a clear mind and heart.
It helps you set your intentions.
Intention is defined as an aim or a plan. I always tell myself, do things with intention and precision. If I want to take a step towards something, I want to make sure that it isn’t lacklustre but rather, has 110 percent effort behind it.
In this instance, intention really just involves taking a cold hard look at yourself and thinking about what your preferred situation/version of yourself is. Being intentional about what you want is the key to figuring out how to actually achieve such results. If you have easy goals to follow that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound (SMART goals) then you can likely track how you’re going over time.
This intentionality also helps contribute to your happiness and how fulfilled and satisfied you are. When you’re moving forward with a clear direction and where you want to go, it makes you feel positive. You’ll also feel more responsible and have something to keep you accountable. Why is it better to start being intentional about what you do now? It’s a negative mindset to say, “oh, I’m going to just keep smoking until January 1” when you know why it may be bad for you and why you can start now. By being intentional from the get go, you have a much deeper understanding of what it is that you’re resolving to do, which will tremendously help with execution when the time arises.
Studies have proven that people fail to accomplish resolutions.
According to research conducted by Forbes magazine, only 8 percent of people tend to stick to their New Year’s resolutions and actually achieve them. Why? Well, the reason is twofold.
It is very hard to track achievement in the first instance, which relates to point (2) above in that setting clear intentions will translate to easily identifiable goals.
The other reason (and the bigger one!) is that people have a 0 to 100 mentality. You’re not taking any actions toward a goal for the whole year but suddenly in the New Year, you’re doing a high intensity interval training workout? People tend to take on far too much too quickly. You’re going from Christmas roasts with your family, eating an abundance of pavlovas to suddenly only eating salads, running every day for an hour, having three private training sessions and starting pottery like you’ve always wanted to. That, coupled with the fact that you’re taking this on straight after the year’s biggest holiday period is a runway for you to burn out and finish the month in an absolute slump, polishing off a block of Hazella Whittaker’s chocolate.
Gives you a runway for a practice period.
A New Year’s resolution can definitely apply from January 1 onwards, but if you want to make a goal for yourself like getting more fit, being more active, learning to be better with your money or whatever it is, there is nothing detrimental in taking little steps to incorporate that in your life already. You don’t need to be at the gym every day but turn the brunch catch up into a walk and a coffee, or attend an event on the basics of investing. You can make the actual plunge of joining a new gym in the new year, but give yourself a practice period to see what feasible lifestyle changes you can actually make in the interim to make your resolution a sustainable and achievable change.
You have time to create a backup plan for when you fall off the wagon.
For all of the reasons set out above, it’s abundantly clear that going cold turkey is just inefficient. Another reason you should start now is so that you can orchestrate a contingency plan for when you fall off the wagon. You can find an action plan for what to do when you’re not feeling motivated, or feel like you can’t just continue. This could be through having a clear way to track progress, allowing yourself to have 2-3 bad weeks when setting up these changes or what conversations you may have with yourself when you get there. For example, one of my biggest goals is to have a gym session at least 5 times a week. Is that always practical? Definitely not. I allow myself in a busy week to replace a gym session with a walk with a friend, or doing yoga at home before bed. By starting early, you can make a plan for what you might do, which can limit any negative internal dialogue and help keep you feeling motivated on your path.
Hopefully I’ve inspired you to get reflecting and resolving now!