Tis the season for resolutions! I know many of you are exhausted from the holidays and the word ‘resolution’ brings up an internal groan, but it doesn’t have to. Resolutions can be a very positive experience and a successful one if you start in the right place.
In the gray winter months with a culture that praises being critical and at times cynical, personal reflection can often go negative quickly, focusing on your flaws and mistakes. But starting and staying negative in your reflection only leads to depression and apathy. Instead, start positive when you reflect on your past year. Look at your success: Did you conquer a bad habit? Become a better communicator? Or get that new position, client, or contract? Reflect on that past success and celebrate it, accept it as part of who you are, and build on it!
Remembering and celebrating your past successes helps give you the motivation and confidence to repeat that success in the future. It also helps you accept the skills you used to succeed as part of who you are. Accepting your skills and talents as part of your identity builds confidence through humility, as we talked about in my earlier post on humble leadership. This motivation and confidence is what you’ll need to see your resolutions through and start the New Year looking forward to what you can and will accomplish.
Resolutions – Where and How to Improve
How do you choose a resolution and stick with it? Coming up with a list of possible resolutions might not be hard, we all have plenty of opportunities to improve because we’re all human, a difficult part might be choosing one. I find the best resolutions are the ones that improve my own well-being because by improving myself I am better able to succeed at work and be the person I want to be at home. After choosing a resolution the hard job of sticking to it starts and many people get discouraged, but you don’t have to. These tactics below are how I stay positive and stick with my resolutions and they can work for you too.
How to Stick with it and Become a Better You
- First, see a resolution as an opportunity to become better, not a flaw that needs to be fixed. Focusing on the negative will only erode your confidence and motivation.
- Second, don’t pay attention to the statistics about how few people stick to their resolutions, it will only make your resolution look more difficult than it is. Instead, look to the positive reflection you’ve done and use your past success as proof that you can succeed again.
- Third, be reasonable and don’t try to change everything at once. You can always add more as the year progresses, but starting out with too much can get discouraging quickly.
- Fourth, give yourself a break and focus on your progress. Missing a day or falling back into old patterns, doesn’t make you a failure, it makes you human. Instead, choose to remember your progress and past success, and keep at it.
- Fifth, make self-improvement a habit. Resolutions, changing yourself, is hard work until it becomes part of your routine. Eventually, going to the gym becomes just something you do and making eye contact becomes just part of how you communicate. So make self-improvement part of your routine by always having something you’re working on.
Make the Time and Start
The chaos of the holiday season is over, now chisel out sometime to get your favorite winter beverage or go on a long walk and reflect on the year. Stay positive and acknowledge your accomplishments and how you’ve changed. Let it sink in. Then, ask yourself, “what do I want to accomplish, how do I want to improve, and who do I want to be, when I’m doing all of this again, at the end of next year.” Focus on those goals, not the flaws, and how you can accomplish them. Then, just start!
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