So, it's a brand new year, and you've made some new year resolutions. How are they going so far? Just a few days into January, and many people will have already failed to see at least one of their resolutions through.
So why do we set them? Well, it's thought that the Babylonians were the first to offer promises to ensure that the gods bestowed favour on their crops being planted for the new year. The Romans named January after Janus, the two faced god, symbolically looking backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future. Sacrifices were made to Janus along with promises of good conduct for the following year. Early Christians used the first day of the year to thinking about their past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future.
So, the roots of resolutions are in religion, with promises made to gods and deities. The belief that they would feel their wrath if they didn't uphold their promises. Nowadays, we make resolutions to ourselves instead, and they tend to be based on self improvement - losing weight and doing more exercise are particularly popular!
So, why don't we keep to these resolutions? Well, they're usually about behaviour change, and that's pretty difficult to achieve on your own. Who's holding you accountable for a start? What's the plan? Is it a one off goal? When do you want to have achieved it? Is it about ongoing change? Most importantly, why is this resolution important to you? If you don't understand your own purpose in achieving this goal, how will you know how to drive it forwards?
Think about how you'd approach business planning. You'd want to set goals that fit with the purpose of the business. You'd look at the time frame for achieving those goals, and the steps you need to take to achieve them. You'd put them into action, and review progress, making adjustments when they're needed. You'd update the plan to allow for unexpected events, environmental and economic factors. You'd celebrate when you'd achieved your goals, and reflect on how to do something differently when they didn't work out as planned.
Now, how does that compare to resolutions? We make a list. We set off enthusiastically in January. With no plan, no timescales, and noone to hold us accountable... How's that working out for you?
If you really want to make those changes, find someone to help you. It might be a personal trainer, it might be a friend, it might be a coach or a mentor. One thing's for certain - you have a greater chance of success if you don't do it alone.
Nicki Eyre is a Transformational and mBIT Certified Coach offering coaching programmes for businesses and individuals, helping to increase self awareness and change behaviours in business. She also supports people struggling to cope with bullying in the workplace, or to move on after such an experience. Contact Nicki for a confidential discussion about coaching: