The Blog

New Year's Resolutions Revisited

Back in January I wrote a blog for The Huffington Post about what my New Year's resolutions were. I had decided, for the first time in many years, to make some. Looking back on it now I remember feeling a little vulnerable about putting them out into the public domain. However I soon got over that. Someone reminded me of that blog the other day and asked if I had stuck to them. 'Oh great' I thought ... 'I can't even remember what they were....'

Anyway, I went back to them - and I'm happy, if a little surprised, to say most of them have been achieved or kept despite my working life at Coley Porter Bell being incredible busy.

Two of them were very specific - to have supper with the kids more often during the week - they are older so can hang on until 8pm when I get home - to arrange resilience 'training' sessions for my team - and those I am happy to say were achieved.

And then there was one about shortening meeting times to take a break in between and just to be still, breathe and let my mind flow. I can't say I have shortened meeting times successfully, but that notion of being still for a moment and letting my mind flow has stayed with me all year. I have found times when I have deliberately sat back, tried to clear my mind of all its usual detritus, and have simply concentrated on being and breathing. It has helped. I have felt calmer, and more focussed, more often.

It got me thinking about what other's experiences of New Year's resolutions were, and I asked my company and some of my friends about theirs.

Some themes came out in the responses.

The first was that not one man responded to my email asking about people's experiences. Why is that? Don't men make resolutions?

I got stories of real perseverance and determination. One friend told me: 'My New Year's resolution was to be able to do five full chin-ups. I am only up to three because I have not been practising enough, I will carry it over to next year'. And, knowing her, she will have achieved it by the end 2016.

And then there were some great examples of a slightly different approach.

One friend told me that rather than big annual resolutions she aims for between 5-7 self-awarded stars a week. She told me: 'You decide what you will give yourself a star for, e.g. a day without alcohol, an early night, a session at the gym, a day with no chocolate, a day with no arguments about homework etc. It's actually harder to achieve than you would think!'

And someone else told me that she deliberately sets herself at least one achievable resolution, what she calls an 'I WILL' rather than an 'I WON'T'. She said 'It could be I WILL moisturise my elbows more, drink 2L water a day, only have 3 Diet Cokes a week' She said she chooses something that's a positively healthy step and something she knows she won't fail on.

Inevitably there were some who said they just could not be bothered with New Year's resolutions - some had tried in the past but got nowhere. 'Love the idea, but so over it', said one of my colleagues. Like me, in previous years, cynicism had set in.

But actually after my experience this year I would urge the cynics to reconsider.

I realised that even though I hadn't remembered my resolutions they had stayed with me- just saying them out loud and saying them in the public space of a blog somehow made them exist in my subconscious. And they happened. I will be doing it all again in 2016.