I met up with a friend last week for a coffee and a catch up. Over a caramel latte we put the world to rights and talked about our plans for the coming year. We both agreed that we wanted to spend more time on projects we felt a connection with and had a passion for. “And when will you start that? I asked. “Oh, in the new year – it’s my new year’s resolution”. As the words fell from her mouth we both smiled that knowing smile – we both knew, in that moment, that the plans based around a new year’s resolution were almost certainly doomed to failure.
Drawers, cupboards and wardrobes around the world are littered with the unfulfilled dreams from New Year’s resolutions. But why so? Pretty much all resolutions worthwhile – lose weight, travel more, get a new job, reconnect with friends or family. But something always gets in the way, the daily trudge to the gym wears you down, your current situation isn’t so bad after all, the goal you set was just too ambitious. Little by little the spark fades, old habits reassert themselves and before long, another year has slipped by and nothing has changed. And then you make another resolution…
Why wait? Start now! New Year’s resolutions are flawed from the start. You are focusing on the wrong thing. It’s not the resolution that is important, its the intent. I love the quote attributed to Goethe:“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!”
What is your intent? – what is it you really want? Do you want to lose weight, or do you want to be happier in yourself? Clarifying your intent gets to the heart of not what you want to change, but why. Your intent drives your action. It helps you overcome the challenges and and setbacks. Intent keeps you on track. A long time ago I was given this jigsaw to help create personal change. They called it creating an outcome, I call it building intent. What ever words work best for you, don’t wait until January start today.
Right, I’m off to do some training. I’m taking part in Oxfam’s Trail Trekker challenge – 100km in 30 hours. Our first training hike was postponed today and it’s been rearranged… for the New Year. It’s time to head for the hills!