I hate new year’s resolutions. Eighty per cent of people who make new year’s resolutions fail by February anyway, and this often reinforces negative self-perceptions, which can be damaging long-term to our ability to set goals and achieve them.
I have long-since lamented the futility of new year’s resolutions and have cited many psychological studies to back up my claims regarding people’s tendencies to use the cultural framework of a new year’s resolution as a procrastination tool for putting off what they could be constructively working towards before the year is out. In short, my feelings about the practice are well-documented and long standing.
Despite all that, this year, I’ve made a new year’s resolution.
Perhaps I’m just a sucker for punishment, but I’ve found a loophole in my own arguments and my new year’s resolution just slipped right through it. You see, the one advantage to the practice is the development of a social opportunity, an excuse, if you will, to acknowledge the need to change.
The end of the year often brings with it some reflection and nothing helps us identify where we could have done better than the bottom of a bottle of champagne and a nostalgic bent towards historical critique.
However, if I’m being honest, the idea of creating a new year’s resolution for 2018 wasn’t a sudden epiphany: it sort of crept up on me. I think perhaps, the catalyst for this about-face on my abstinence from resolution-making has come in the form of the realisation that something has to change.
In business I love change. I love the constant challenge of developing new ideas, resolving new problems and redeveloping my business to meet the needs of an ever-evolving market. In my personal life? Not so much. However, 2017 brought with it some harsh realities that I have to face if 2018 (and the years that follow) will mark ongoing improvement.
After two years of chronic and increasing pain, a significant decline in mobility and notable speed with which this decline took place, in 2017, I was diagnosed with early onset osteoarthritis in both my hips. I’m just 36 and in the last year I have found myself unable to walk by 8pm after a day of shopping or gardening with pain levels so significant that nothing relieved it. In the last few months, I’ve taken on a regime of chiropractic care, remedial massage, and kinesiology together with regular appointments with my GP, specialist appointments with surgeons and some physio. However, despite all of that, I’ve found that this condition is impacting my work (not to mention my ability to be the kind of mum I want to be) and I simply cannot have that.
So, as if making a new year’s resolution wasn’t bad enough, I’ve gone and made it a clicheed one: I am going to focus more on my health in 2018.
I know that some of the reasons so many new year’s resolutions fail is because the goals that are set are unrealistic, require the breaking of an ingrained habit, and are outcome-focused where the journey to attainment is undesirable. I also know that my new year’s resolution pretty much covers all of those issues, so no pressure! The stakes are pretty high – it’s not just about wanting to drop a few kilos or not confuse the sea life when donning lycra at the beach. It’s about making small, realistic, palatable changes to significantly impact my quality of life and my ability to juggle work more effectively.
So I raise my glass to all of you making new year’s resolutions this week. May we overcome adversity and fly in the face of statistics, together!