What to make instead of New Year’s resolutions
Updated: Jan 28
Each New Year’s Eve we’re inclined to make a new set of resolutions, but the majority of us have already forgotten them by the time the calendar turns to February. According to Alisa Camplin, we might be better off doing away with resolutions and instead focussing on the ‘one word’ principle to act as a guiding light for 2019.
When we talk about New Year’s resolutions, what we’re doing is looking for a mental marker. We’re attempting to draw a line in the sand that we can point to and say, “From here, things are going to be different.” The desire behind that comes from looking to make an improvement or a change.
Being able to recognise that desire is a positive thing, but how do we actually achieve it? Well, one way that works is through the creation of sustainable habits. Unfortunately, just making a resolution isn’t enough to make a change. That’s where examining the ‘why’ of your motivation can also be important to your commitment.
Here are some more tips and tools to create positive change for yourself in the coming year.
Create positive intent
More often than not, we make a ‘don’t’ resolution. As in, “I’m going to quit this,” or, “I’m not going to that anymore.” Instead, we should try and reframe those intentions around an ‘I will’ attitude, so it becomes a positive thing. In that way, we can flood ourselves with positivity to remove a negative element. More than that, you’ll get more satisfaction and joy out of adopting a new behaviour than you will in trying to halt an existing one.
An example of this is adding more vegetables to your diet, rather than trying to cut pasta out.
Embrace a guiding light
If you’ve failed to keep your resolutions in previous years, why not do away with them altogether and try something different? Instead of having a commitment, consider identifying a New Year’s ‘guiding light’ focussed on one single word that really resonates with you.
Once you’ve identified your word, you need to own it and immerse yourself in it. Put it into your diary, add it to your phone wallpaper and reflect regularly on how you are connecting with it. Consider it a concept that you need to fully buy into and take on as part of who you are for the next year. It can be good to share that word with other people that are close to you so there’s an element of support and accountability too.
Shift the framework
Two years ago, for me, that word was ‘learning’. I committed to being open to learning, to accept the process of learning. I was able to recognise that I wasn’t going to be able to grow without learning. Everything that I did came with the frame of that context.
It’s funny, because my traditional resolution that year was going to be ‘try to be calmer’. But when difficult situations came up, it was hard to just switch on the calm. Whereas, with this word, I could navigate those situations with the attitude of, “Okay, what can I learn from this?” It gave me a new context in which to perceive my experiences, and that became really empowering. I started to seek out opportunities to learn, and I looked for the silver lining in things. The key was finding value in a whole new framework, rather than focussing on one thing, as you do with a resolution.
Find your mantra
Because of that success, last year I decided that my word would be ‘joy’. I wanted to find more joy in everything around me. I took more time to smell flowers, to notice small things and appreciate people smiling – I was really looking for the best in other people. Again, I found that it had this resilience diffuser effect. Rather than saying, “I’m going to manage situations better,” this seeking of joy inadvertently helped me to achieve that goal. Even better, I ended up spreading more joy, because I felt more grateful and shared more positive things with others.
As we transition into 2019, based on everything I’ve learnt this year, I’ve decided that my guiding word will be ‘perspective’. So, what’s yours going to be?
Originally published on www.onelife.aiavitality.com.au on January 2, 2018.
Alisa Camplin is an Olympic Gold Medalist, in-demand Keynote Speaker, Corporate Ambassador, and Human Performance Consultant who delivers results-driven Resilience and Human Performance Training and Development Programs. Connect with Alisa.