It’s the yearly fail safe, the point in the year to make statements of change and improvement. Bold sweeping gestures to become a fitter, healthier, tidier, less frivolous you. But why do we wait for this end of year marker? Personally, to me it is just another way of letting ourselves put things off for a while. To allow us to bask in some last minute gluttony or care free behaviour. January the first, the time for our resolutions..

So yes it is of course a great thing to identify and highlight the changes you want to make to feel better about yourself. Why wouldn’t you? But why wait until the clock strikes twelve? Bearing in mind you’ll probably be breaking those resolutions until you go to bed anyway. It’s not really something I have indulged in as an adult. I haven’t smoked in ten years, I drink socially on quite rare occasions, I am a frequent attendee at the gym and for the most part my nutrition is ship shape. Yet here I stand, this year things appear to be very different and I am certainly very different. So, a couple of weeks from the new year and one of the biggest well in fact the biggest chapter of my life has come to a close. It is now time to step into the new year with a new freedom. To embrace what life can be, to continue to build on what I work tirelessly away at behind the scenes to truly realize my goals. Yes I can talk about everyone else making their dreams come true and offer advice, the ear to listen and regale tales from my journey that has formed my experience in all of these fields but I also have my own goals, my own markers and ambition; and we should all have goals in both our personal and professional worlds. Regardless of how hard you work on your professional goals, no matter how well your career is progressing you must also apply time for personal development, personal passions and interests. Something away from everything else, no bells, no whistles, just enjoyment.

It very much feels like I am standing in a doorway to the outside world, my feet rocking back and forth on the threshold waiting to take the first step out into the new world of me. It feels bright, if I could describe it feels like I’m standing at the doorway of the porch in a sunny climate, somewhere like the outback, it is dark where I am right now, the shadows are strong and the shade is cold but the sun from the view before me is powerful, making me squint and raise a hand up to my brow. I’m a little tentative but very excited as I know every step from here on out is taken by me, for me. No shadows, no shackles, no ghosts. Like I said back in ‘Relationship ghosts’ those parts of me, those memories and feelings cant some with me into this new chapter, they are tethered elsewhere. I’m wont and cannot erase them from my mind and after all they are part of me, a large part of me.

It’s like the planets are lining up for my release, like stepping stones preparing me for my return back into reality and a normal existence. So to me this year I am making some resolutions or more accurately I am thinking about the subject of resolutions. What would I like to change, what would I like to improve, what would I like to work towards. That to me is what, if you go in for the January 1st statement should be. A review of what you’ve been through and where you would like to get to and of course how you are going to get there. But don’t wait for the end of the year to roll round, why put it off? Just so you can buy a little more time reveling in bad habits or avoid making changes that will require a slice of work and ongoing commitment. Maybe view it the other way round, the quicker you start to implement those changes the further down the path towards them you will be when the new year rolls into town. It’s reducing the time that you say you want to do or change something to the time you actually start doing something about it.

That is where the difference lies and for me that is how we should train ourselves to be. Decide we want to do something and straight away start working out how we are going to make it happen.

A resolution should be more of a promise to yourself, a conscious decision to move forwards. ‘I’m going to do this from now on as previously I felt things could be better’. Positive, every decision you make should be driven by a positive eventual outcome. So I absolutely agree to drawing a line in the sand behind you and the promise to disregard negative elements form your world, both internal and external. And sometimes it’s a lot easier to put off making those decisions and changes but that push to yourself, that is actually the critical point, not waiting for the marker in the calendar but instead taking charge of what you want in and out of your life and doing something about it. Those decisions stick. There’s no pressure, no expectation. It’s just you versus you in creating a happier you. The worst thing you can do is allow the views and opinions of others to affect your decisions. When you hear: ‘ I think you should cut down your drinking and join the gym’ to take the opinion as your own and act on it will rarely work or prove to build consistency in your actions as it was not born of your will. Me, have the words me and I at the forefront of every decision you make.

A resolution should be made when it feels like it needs to be made but don’t label it up as such a thing, it is merely a decision. A decision you are determined not to go back on as in keeping up this change, in forming a new pattern of behaviour will benefit the future you. That is the person we have to think about isn’t it, the future version of ourselves. Is what we do today and tomorrow going to be of benefit to us in the future? Be that next month, next year or in ten years. Everything we do is a building block, a paving slab that we lay out in front of ourselves and then move forwards onto. The key is to think first to how and where we lay that slab and what the resulting implications of how and where it is laid will be.

That is all we are doing each day, creating journeys by the pathways we build. Another key element is not seeing a set back as total failure. You have a cigarette, you have a midweek drink or you skip the gym; whatever the broken resolution may be it is no offense that is punishable by death. It’s called being human and mistakes and setbacks happen. The important thing is that you recognize and acknowledge that you dropped the ball and you wake up the next day and go again. All the sayings apply, Rome wasn’t built in a day, one salad wont make you healthy and one pizza wont make you fat. Don’t punish yourself, that is where resolutions fall down. They are portrayed all as win or loss when life isn’t that simple. Just because you broke your resolution doesn’t mean you shut up shop and revert back to your old ways. You get up and go again, you try again and eventually that effort is rewarded.  That consistency is not necessarily having a hundred percent clean record but of not giving up on what you said you were going to do is what makes ‘you’.

The subject matter of the resolution is irrelevant. It’s the application of you to yourself that is the reward. A reward that future you will thank you for.

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