Don’t make New Year Resolutions!

This is the time when we think about the year ahead and begin to feel under pressure to make New Year commitments or resolutions.  A quick look at Twitter reveals that recording your first Youtube video, adopting a more competitive attitude to sport or gearing yourself up to win a prize on Amazon are some of the things people are resolving to pay attention to in 2016. 

Some of us see the New Year as an opportunity to set ourselves a new challenge and get fired up to achieve something great.  To the less competitive among us, this may be too much.  Perhaps we need to simply look at a new way of doing things – walking a little more, eating a little less, finding a new author to read – and leave the big things to others.  But how do we decide?  And how do we avoid making rash resolutions at the last minute, which fail within the first few weeks of the New Year?

Our own time is a precious resource.  We need to think carefully and prioritise how we use it.  So don’t make New Year resolutions until you’ve thought about it carefully and worked out how you really want to use your time and energy!

As a coach I am used to asking people questions about what they would like to achieve and what resources they need to make things happen.  One of the best self-coaching tools we can all use to see where we need to apply effort in our lives is a spidergram or a mind-map.  These techniques allow us to work from the big things in our life, such as our health, work, leisure activities, personal skills, family life and to explore and capture our needs and ambitions in each of those areas.  Representing these as a picture, by using a series of interconnected images, words, shapes and lines gives us a visual image of these different areas of our lives and helps us to look at where our efforts can really add value and move us forward in achieving our goals.  There’s a link to more information about spidergrams, mind mapping and the difference between them at the end of my blog.

There’s software available to help you and I’ve included a link to some of the options.  However, a pencil, an eraser and a large piece of paper are all you need.  Write your name in a circle at the centre of the page.  Draw circles for around this for the main areas of your life, such as your health, and connect them to you.  You can branch into more detail to show the things you are achieving and the things you’d like to achieve.   Use  pictures and colours if you’d like to.  The process of drawing your diagram can be a therapeutic exercise in itself - rather like clearing out and organising a cluttered cupboard!  As your diagram progresses you will see that some areas have a lot of activity around them and others less so.  Use this information to decide where you feel you need to spend your time in the coming year in order to balance your life and achieve your goals.  You can also see where there are gaps in your life where there is little or no activity.  For example, is most of your effort focussed around work?  And if so, what could you do to balance this?

Once you have a good enough version of your diagram in front of you, take a good look and use it to decide how you can prioritise your time in the coming year.  Then make a carefully considered New Year’s resolution!  Check back to your diagram occasionally as things may change as the year goes on.  And remember that a carefully considered commitment for the New Year is worth more than a hasty decision as the clock chimes midnight! 

Happy New Year to you all!

Links to resources

Izzy Ixer

Director and Principal Consultant

Blue Pebble Coaching Ltd