As much as we might want them to, our lives don’t fit discretely into 365-day periods.
Nevertheless, we tend to plan our goals around the beginning and end of the year. A lot of people have told themselves that this year they’ll be getting fit, giving more to friends and family and maybe even be heading out on more adventures.
But, just like our elected politicians, the proverbial New Years election period speeches always sound much better than the reality of making them happen. Perhaps it’s down to timing, health, age or a new busy job. Regardless of the excuse, our resolutions just don’t fit into our hectic schedules.
If we aren’t willing to make sacrifices to our schedules, but we still want to make conscious changes to our lives, then we need to rethink our approach to resolutions.
Most changes require ongoing commitment. If what we love about change is an immediate result, then there is no reason to take up a new language, gardening or an instrument. The best rewards in life require time commitment. Therefore, if you don’t have the time to meet someone new, then you probably also don’t have the time to be a good friend.
Most people’s lives are completely full. It might not be full of meaningful experiences, but even if it is just watching television and taking care of the family, it can still be exhausting at the end of the day. If someone wishes to have more meaningful activities in their lives, they have to be willing to put them at the centre of their life.
If we simply try and shove change into the spare gaps of our lifestyle, it will be the first to go in times of struggle.
If you want to take up a sustainable New Years resolution, then the resolution needs to take a centre place in your life. Embrace them as an ongoing relationship that will change and bloom over a period of years.
For example, what if you want to have more adventures in your life? Heading on adventures requires work leave, training and planning. The benefits of travelling abroad or into nature are countless but they require sacrifice and long-term commitment.
If you are committing to an adventure this year, then you are also committing to focus on your health, making more space for yourself between work and leisure and learning new skills. These benefits require your prioritisation to come into existence.
What we can develop through making sustainable resolutions is not simply one-off rewards, but skills that multiply the opportunity for future rewards.
So forget the pressure of a new year/new you. Start thinking about what life your priorities are making for you. If they are making you stressed and unhealthy, then make a sustainable resolution.
Consider your rewards years away. Choose a resolution that works on skills that will help you, and others from 2018 and beyond.