Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Years Resolution

The celebrations welcoming the New Year and in fact the new decade in are behind us at last. All of the superstitious acts of tossing change in the streets on the night of New Years Eve, of eating black-eyed peas on New Years Day, of jumping backwards whilst chanting "Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit"; all of that is done. Now we can settle down and focus on all of those resolutions we declared in all earnestness just as the ball or the sardine dropped at the stroke of midnight.

For the most part, these resolutions dissolve over a short period of time rarely if ever to be revisited until perhaps next year when we've forgotten about them. One of the reasons for this is their sheer impracticality. Although shooting for the stars is not to be dismissed as foolhardy in some instances, when it comes to making any changes to one's daily routine, it's best to aim low. Keep the pressure as light as possible. Set any goal at an easily attainable level. You have a much better chance of exceeding your expectations if you do. One way to reduce the stress is to break the goal down into manageable, realistic parts. An even more successful way to keep your resolution is to be sure that it came from your heart and not just your head. In other words, don't pick a goal just because you think it sounds like a good idea; choose the objective because it really matters to you, right down to your core. This can take some time to discover. It usually requires some quiet "me" time without distractions. When you finally decide on your resolution, you are in a much stronger position to achieve it and it will make you feel great!

Setting goals for the coming year or coming decade for that matter can be a lot of fun and an easy way to stay accountable to yourself. Dividing projects into short, medium and long ranges helps to set up a way for you to tackle things one at a time. This actually gives you a greater degree of control over your life, which is something we all usually want more of. Meeting short term goals is the easiest. Establishing a habit of meeting these goals is a sure fire way of increasing self esteem. And that gives you greater confidence in both business and social circles.

Helping children to understand what New Years resolutions are all about and how to approach these goals in an appropriate way is a great gift to them. Some decisions kids may be considering may be unhealthy or unsafe for them. Helping them to make informed decisions is a wonderful parenting skill. Kids learn most by example and what better way to teach them about goal setting than by setting and achieving some yourself?

One of the most difficult problems with New Years resolutions is the time of year in which they are made. Winter, especially near the holidays, is not only stressful, but it is also a time of rest. I find that whilst making resolutions at the beginning of the year is a fine idea, executing them is usually best put off until spring, a time of year where rebirth and rejuvenation are part of the natural order of things.

This gives us plenty of time to ponder our goals for the coming year. Some we will choose to begin right away. Those are the ones about which we have the most passion about. Those are the ones which come from our heart. Determining the timing to put into practice any resolution is a key element to succeeding at our goals. Whatever our intentions are let's resolve them with patience and careful thought. Furthermore, if you decide to do something, then do not do it, do not chastise yourself - have compassion.

One thought to remember is that how we do what we do is an expression of who we are. This is how people perceive us. It can take the blink of an eye for us to make an impression. By taking the time to think about how we feel in our hearts before blurting out what pops into our heads, we stand a good chance of being kinder and happier people. This is my idea of a wonderful New Year's resolution, and a pretty easy one too.