This year was all about balance. Or at least it was, back in January, when I promised myself more ‘me time’. I pictured early mornings spent running on the sand, regular catch-ups with friends (old and new) as well as quality, romantic time with my partner. But like so many other resolutions before it, those dreams quickly faded into nothing, because, as Oscar Wilde famously said, “a New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other”.
Less than three months into the year, and my initial resolve had disintegrated into nothing and, given the saying ‘people never change’, I can perhaps forgive myself for failing to follow through with my new year resolve.
But does Wilde have it wrong? Is there a way to ensure the resolutions we make actually stick?
In his best-selling 2003 book, Goals, Brian Tracy explains, saying, “All successful people are intensely goal orientated … Your ability to set goals is the master skill of success. Goals unlock your positive mind and release ideas and energy.”
But rather than advocating the heavily used SMART goal-setting technique, Tracy believes the key to maximising your success in achieving your goals comes down to the power of the mind.
“Perhaps the greatest discovery in human history is the power of your mind to create almost every aspect of your life,” he writes. “Everything you see around you in the man-made world began as a thought or idea in the mind of a single person before it was translated into reality.”
It follows, therefore, that thinking of and setting your New Year’s Resolutions is the single most important step. But turning them into reality? If you haven’t yet managed it, then perhaps you need to change your approach.
Research conducted in 2010 and published in the journal Health Psychology also lends itself to Tracey’s belief in the power of the mind. In order to gain strong commitment to a goal (and therefore increase your chances of following through), the research suggests that you firstly identify and imagine the most positive outcome for your goal and, secondly, visualise the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of successfully completing your goal. Although you may be used to picturing the outcome in your mind, it’s the latter step that you may have overlooked.
For more advice and techniques on fulfilling your new year’s resolutions, click here.
If you’re unsure of what target to set yourself in 2012, here the MiNDFOOD team confess what their plans are.
My new year resolution reads like it does most years – which is to be healthier and get fitter. This year I am also going to add into the mix to dedicate more time to myself to relax and do the things I love – like yoga and walking and cooking! I’m hoping in 2012 I will be able to manage my time better and give myself time to do these things on a regular basis, and I hope like most years it doesn’t stop midyear when the craziness of life kicks in.
My promise to myself for 2012 is to my break my sugar habit. I have a sweet tooth to put it mildly (even as I write this I’m enjoying a chocolate and hazelnut slice). While I believe a little bit of sugar doesn’t do any real harm, my intake is getting out of control and is bound to start causing real damage to my health if I don’t act soon.
I resolve to spend less – to no – time on my phone when around the kids.
Deputy chief sub-editor
After buying the biggest purchase of my life this year (an apartment), I’ve realised that having a mortgage means my spending habits need a serious makeover (i.e. less shopping, more saving). So in 2012, I resolve to be more frugal (and only buy new shoes when they’re really, REALLY cute).
My new year’s resolution is all about a renewed outlook, which includes: accepting the things I cannot change, striving to change those that I can, embracing the things I love and to keep challenging myself to learn something new every day.