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Don’t wait until January to Start Something New


We’ve all be there, we wake up on New Year’s Day with varying degrees of hangover from too much food or drink the night before and suddenly realisation hits that this is the start of another brand new year. So we make some hasty and half-hearted New Year’s resolutions (or revolutions as my late German-born Mum used to call them!) and then slump back onto the sofa in front of the TV. The problem is, these resolutions are often linked to something that is important to us, and these decisions to make changes shouldn’t be made in haste, or half-heartedly.

When we’ve just come through the madness of December and the Festive Season, with Christmas over-indulgence and consumerism, it’s never likely to end well when we choose that moment to decide to make important life changes, improve our health, or even simply to start being kinder. The problem with New Year’s resolutions is that nobody takes them seriously.

Let’s face it, when did you last hear a successful business owner say to you “did you know, starting my business was one of my New Year’s resolutions?” or “who’d have thought my resolution to try something new would end up with me getting a PhD in rocket science!” We just don’t make life changes in that way. Serious decisions to make changes and set goals require us to make changes to our behaviour, and this takes a whole lot of effort.

According to a study carried out at Southampton University only 8% of people in the UK who make a resolution achieve them. This leaves a huge 92% of us having failed to stick to our resolutions. When that 92% were asked what their resolution had been in November of that year 31% couldn’t even recall them. The reason that most New Year’s resolutions fail is because they are most often our wishful thinking, no matter how well-intentioned we are when we make them.

When we say we’re going to make New Year’s resolutions, we’re really just putting off thinking about making those changes until January. Its procrastination and we’re setting ourselves up for failure by putting our resolve to change off before we’ve even started. You wouldn’t wait to fix a different sort of issue, would you? If your tap starts to leak, you have it fixed. You don’t think “oh I’ll call a plumber next month” you get on and call one as soon as you can.

Making change involves a great deal of determination and effort, we’re retraining our brains and big changes take commitment and time, so using a date on the calendar to give you a perceived boost of determination isn’t the best strategy. You need to seize the day, carpe diem and all that, and dig deep within yourself to start now, not on the 1st January. Own that change and don’t wait to take action, your success is too valuable to you to delay it and risk failure. As Ghandi said “the future depends on what you do today” not on New Year’s Day. Ask yourself what you can start doing differently today. You can make it easier by breaking down the goal into more achieveable chunks, e.g. if you want to learn Spanish look up the courses now, order yourself a CD, buy a translation dictionary. You only need commit to the baby step - a lot of baby steps mean progress, and let's face it, we might not have the energy after Christmas! Every day is a new day, you don’t need the new year to get started.

Building resilience


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