At this time of year we are all asked ‘what are your New Year’s Resolutions?’ and all over the world gyms and diet programmes are wringing their hands in anticipation of record numbers of people signing up and going religiously. In January.
The issue with resolutions is that people place the emphasis on the word ‘resolutions’ instead of ‘your’ in that sentence above.
Let me explain…The 29th December 2015 marked 10 years without an alcoholic drink for me, 10 years without a hangover, 10 years without the guilt of waking up wondering what I’d done or said when I was drunk and 10 years living with MY decision.
I came to the realization when I woke up on the 30th December 2005 that alcohol wasn’t a good thing for me (I’m not going to get preach-y here don’t worry!) it just doesn’t suit ME and because of this I decided for MYSELF that it was time to give it up. Give it up. Not ‘cut down a bit’, not ‘think about giving it a rest’, not ‘keep it in check and only drink when out of the house’, NO, I wanted to give up RIGHT THEN.
Why am I telling you all this? Because I could have waited until ‘after New Year’s Eve drinks and made it a New Year’s Resolution’ but I remember thinking, ‘well I could do that, but it’s my decision, and can’t I stop drinking when I want to, not wait until some pre-ordained date to do it?’
So that’s what I mean by being decisive, making up your own mind and sticking to it, because YOU want to change your live or your behaviour in some way, not because the calendar gives you the chance to say you’re going to once a year. (Waiting until New Year’s Eve and making a resolution also gives you the biggest get-out clause when you don’t stick to your decision, because ‘everybody fails at their resolutions don’t they!?’)
If you’re looking to make changes in your life here’s what I’ve found in 10 years of abstinence:
– Decide WHY you want to change X, Y or Z in your life.
– Work out what you are going to gain or lose from your life because of the change /decision. (NLP tells us that when we say we are going to ‘lose’ weight, our mind subconsciously holds on to it, but ‘gaining lightness’ sounds a bit weird to me!)
– As soon as you’ve worked out what it is you’re going to do, DO IT – right there and then – don’t wait for some other pre-ordained time that isn’t yours.
– Make the decision part of your life outwardly: ‘Oh I don’t do that now’ / ‘Thanks but I’ve given up X, Y or Z’ and inwardly: ‘STOP – you’re not eating food over 5% fat now / doughnuts / fish n chips now’
– Tell someone you trust to be a mentor / coach / guide who will help you to check yourself (if you need it)
My late father-in-law Eric was a decisive man and here’s a couple of stories from him:
– When his daughter said ‘I’m going to become a Youth Worker’ he replied ‘don’t tell me what you’re going to do, tell me when you’ve done it’…which admittedly is a bit blunt but served to cause his daughter to focus and graduate (as well as not really speak to him for three years)!
– When he was told in the 80s to give up smoking or he would get lung cancer and die, he walked out of the Doctor’s Surgery, put the cigarettes in the bin outside, and NEVER smoked again.
So whether you’re making changes for yourself at New Year or whether you’re just on a mission to be a better person, more adventurous, less-connected to your devices, more healthy or whatever, please make the connection between WHY you’re doing it and HOW your life will be better because of it, DECIDE and COMMIT…all of your life is a product of your thinking and decisions!
I’m going to use Facebook and Twitter once a day rather than spending probably an hour a day in total looking through other peoples’ lives, but if you’d like to tweet me on @EnterpriseSBox with what you’ve decided to do I will see your tweets in my notifications when I check in once a day.
All the best for 2016, whatever you decide and whatever it brings.