How to Make and Keep a New Year's Resolution?
Admission time, like most people, some of my past resolutions didn’t make it to the end of January.
But as Alfred Lord Tennyson said, ‘It's better to have tried and failed than to live life wondering what would've happened if I had not tried’.
So, for holiday fun, I thought I would have a go at talking about resolutions as we all rev up for the year ahead.
You may even have a beauty resolution in mind.
Should we even make New Year resolutions?
I think resolutions can be quite uplifting if they are about personal freedom and not conforming to a standard (in fact a lot of my ideas about beauty, fashion and business are like this).
For me a New Year’s resolution is something personal and I do not even tell anybody when I make one.
It’s not because of fear or doubt but because I want to choose and own it, do it for myself and value it without having to explain it.
I think any objective is good if you are truly ‘doing it for yourself’!
By the same token, I think striving can be a little over-rated.
Sometimes if you just say, ‘it’s been a big year or a hard year or I think I have done enough’, that is absolutely fine.
Why it’s hard to stay on the resolution track
The experts tell us most resolutions stumble because they’re not the right resolution in the first place.
We probably set ourselves up for failure because a resolution is:
- What someone else wants us to do or change (including society)
- Too vague and woolly – ‘I want to help my teenager to succeed in being happy and tidy’
- Not linked to a realistic plan of attack
- For the above 3 reasons your motivation is blah
How to make a doable resolution
I know we have all heard about SMART.
My list making husband loves acronyms and cheat sheets and would probably apply SMART to a resolution like this:
- Specific – my resolution must be absolutely clear and concise. Something like ‘I will not leave the house in the morning without applying SPF’. I think ‘it would be good to protect my skin from UV by wearing SPF sometimes’ might be a bit vague.
- Measurable – This may seem obvious but if a goal is important to us, we need to see progress. Progress requires a ‘before and after’ or ‘I remembered my SPF every day this month’. For example, if you want to stop biting your nails, take pictures of your nails with your phone over time so you can track how your nails grow back.
- Achievable – is about not setting yourself up to fail. Not leave the house in the morning without applying SPF requires diligence and a little extra time but is doable. Achievable also fits with the SCOUT Clean Healthy Beauty philosophy of the right beauty goals and strategies for your stage of life. A goal of ‘I want to look 20yrs younger in 6 months’ is not achievable and any strategy would not be healthy (for your body or mind).
- Relevant – similarly, for me relevance ties together with a goal being for you and achievable by you. Wearing SPF is relevant and important to me because it helps prevent skin cancer and premature aging. I have been diagnosed and treated for cancer twice and my health is very important to me and my family.
- Time-bound. My husband loves deadlines and being ‘task oriented’. Like being ‘achievable’, putting a due date on progress towards a goal helps test whether it is realistic and achievable. Small wins along the journey are important to celebrate as they will add up to make wearing SPF each day a lifetime habit.
How to prepare to keep to your New Year resolution
While I do not make, errr lists, I am big on mental preparation and drive.
I personally need to decide to do something, make a mental picture of it and then visualise success.
I think this works for me because it actually involves aspects of SMART in a less formal way.
To make a mental picture you need to be specific and a goal achievable. Visualising success means you must know what the end goal looks like and feel your desire to achieve the benefits from it.
Most important, it also makes me feel mentally prepared to do something. You have processed the relevance of a goal to you, built and accepted your intention to achieve it and probably also how you will go about it. Even if each of these steps is kind of unconscious, they give me a degree of motivation, optimism and confidence.
Finding the time to visualise is usually an excuse that comes up and I get it we are all so busy these days. My favourite time to visualise is on the final lap of my walk, I use the beauty of nature to power my thoughts and visualisations. That’s right, I don’t close my eyes instead I draw upon the energy of the sun, the trees, the breeze and quietly (in my mind) plan my resolutions.