It’s January 3rd and already my resolution to make adjustments to how I want to be in this new year are in tatters. There’s an awful lot of “I don’t wanna!”, “You can’t make me!” and “Do I have to?” going on in my head. My inner toddler has come out to protest my rigid approach to resolution. I’ve made it a very black and white thing and that’s backfiring on me. Spectacularly.
Resolutions can set you up to fail, especially if they are all about the things you want to fix. So, where does that leave your New Year’s resolutions? On a very tricky path, with no support rail, unless you choose to build that for yourself first – which is what I’m going to explore here.
Some light on this path to start off would be great, as things get dark and murky quite quickly here in the “new”. It feels rewarding to be open to resolutions that are different, fresh, altruistic and being open is an accomplishment to be celebrated. Looking deeply into what you want (and don’t want) is daunting, so when you come out with a realization that there is something you feel compelled to tackle, it is a very empowering thing. It’s heady stuff, you can get carried away (and get in your own way).
There is much research around how good you feel when you make a decision to action a positive change (regardless of what it is). To work less. To eat better. Buying a gym membership (because <ahem> putting it on the credit card shows "real" commitment). All those good feelings may in fact make you feel so good you ride those for a while and don’t do the thing you said you would do… crashing down to reality with shame, self-loathing and a deepening sense (via a non-refundable, unbreakable, one-year contract) of debt - both morale and financial.
The New Year’s resolution hang-over.
So, back to the light. Start to make resolutions from where you are, with the assumption you are perfect the way you are right now. I’m doing this by consulting my Sweary Affirmation Cards, and there’s one that says “My future is a golden, sparkly explosion of f*cking awesomeness”. OK. I can get on board with that. How about you?
You are valued, valuable and worthy. You are human, so you are imperfectly perfect, which is really a thing (you sparkly explosion of awesomeness). You won’t get very far with resolutions by only recognizing your flaws; you end up in “fix it” mode, where there is no compassion, only urgency (quick, get on that flaw and fix it before your resolve collapses…). Yuck, ugh, blech… all the words that sound out how terrible that feels and how bad it is for your well-being.
It’s the third day of the New Year and I have shifted my resolution. I am going to be compassionately honest with myself – it’s simple, but not easy (and starts by owning my awesomeness). Only when you’re willing to compassionately and consistently look at your whole self will you be in a position to leverage your strengths, building resolutions that do not set you up for a fall. When you work with honesty and compassion there is no support rail needed, it’s already there.
Start with compassion, because only then will you be able to move into something new.
Give yourself the gift of a great 2023
The Career Edit is a self-directed coaching program that helps you get clear on what you want to do with your amazing skills (and what you don’t). It’s an important process, because while it may feel like you’re powerless at work, TWO KEY THINGS ARE ALWAYS IN YOUR CONTROL:
This is not a radical “quit your job” approach. The Career Edit is a thoughtful series of self-directed exercises to help you spend your one precious and amazing life doing something meaningful. To you.
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I believe in empowering others in many tangible ways. When I learn new career strategies or see something that might help others, I share it using my blog and website.