A Thought Piece on Resolutions

With every start of every year scores of people make attempts at starting all over in one or other area of their lives. Weight loss, finding a job or another job, becoming more spiritual etc. The fashionable term for this is New Year’s resolutions.

More often than not, the majority of people do not consistently stick to their resolutions. There are several reasons for that. Key among those reasons is that resolutions tend to be made on one aspect of one’s life, without due consideration for its implication on other aspects of one’s life. For example a weight loss resolution has an implication on lifestyle and other general habits. If the decision to lose weight does not take into account what lifestyle changes need to take place, it is unlikely to succeed. Another reason for failed resolutions is the lack of appreciation for the long term nature of it. Resolutions are rarely a short term event. They require a long term perspective. So when the momentary distractions overwhelm our desire for a bigger goal, we tend to lose heart and succumb to temporary convenience of that moment. Gradually commitment to the resolution wanes. By March/ April, the conviction of the resolution has left us.

The good news is that we can turn this around! We can stick to resolutions we make for ourselves! There are many ways to do so. In this piece I will share six steps. You’ll be amazed at how little of this is new, but very few of us actually implement it consistently. See how consistent you can be:

  1. Start with an honest, open stock take of your life. In the preceding period (a year, a quarter etc, try not to always confine resolution making to only the beginning of the year). What has worked well, what has not? Remember you are a whole person, made up of the physical, the spiritual, psychological and social. Each of these slices of your life are separate but intricately connected. Why have things worked or not worked? Also solicit views from someone you trust, who will give honest feedback without being offensive. A thorough stock take will provide you with an appropriately clear lens to chart a meaningful way forward.
  2. Make a decision on what is your goal for a defined period. I prefer the word goal, rather than resolution. The latter has been littered with too many societal and emotional burdens. But it’s your call!
  3. Compile a comprehensive road map of what it is that needs to create a better version of yourself. This must include resources required, e.g. knowledge, people etc. What will be the cost of the goal? That does not only mean financially. It also means emotionally, time wise etc. The roadmap helps you navigate through the journey of where you need to go and how to get there. It also helps you anticipate challenges that might discourage you along the way. If you plan for these, you are better prepared and have a better chance at success.
  4. Visualise the end goal. Our minds are a powerful resource to support where we want to go. A regular habit of visualizing your end goal can energise you while you take baby steps towards that goal. Visualisation also instills focus and single mindedness. If you can have physical representation of your goal (posters etc) to remind you of your game plan, that will be a bonus.
  5. Establish measurable milestones within the journey that you can celebrate. This will give you motivation and a sense of accomplishment. More often than not, this will spur you on.
  6. Find an accountability partner. Someone who will encourage you when the goal no longer seems worth it; hold you accountable for what you originally committed to (in other words kick your butt lovingly).

I wish you an awesome goal setting and goal achieving process! Have fun in the process. Fun tends to help us keep at whatever we have committed ourselves to!

Let me know how it goes…

Phyllis Ndlovu


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