Darren Lawrence

Making your New Year resolution/s a reality!

A coaching session can help make your New Year Resolutions a reality!

So, 2018 is upon us. Many people are making New Year resolutions, there is always lots of talk about these with friends and family, in the media, and now of course, on social media. There is even a Guardian Masterclass being run later in January entitled ‘New year, new you. How to make 2018 your best year yet’, considering aspects such as eating habits, exercise, goal setting and decision making, motivation and happiness.

The tradition of making resolutions, which has religious origins dating back many centuries, is where a person resolves to change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal or improve their life in some way. Resolutions are geared towards making a new start, a clean slate, ringing out the old and ringing in the new.

However, this year a warning has been issued by the Mental Health Foundation stating that resolutions can be damaging to our mental health, as ‘a festival of fault-finding in ourselves, laden in self-criticism’, with a different approach called for, instead focused on positive change. 

What’s more, many of us fail to see our resolutions through – a 2007 University of Bristol study involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail. In my view, the main reasons that we don’t succeed with our resolutions are:

  1. The resolution has no clear action plan in place, and therefore remains an idea or thought.
  2. We haven’t fully visualised what benefits the change will give us and enthusiasm wanes.
  3. The resolution is not realistic or achievable.
  4. We become demotivated when we don’t see quick results, meaning that we don’t ‘stick’ to our resolutions.
  5. ‘Life’ takes over, with other responsibilities prioritised, meaning that the energy required for a behaviour change is needed and used elsewhere.

Whatever the ‘thing’ we wish to change or do is (be it weight loss, improve fitness, better time management, achieve promotion at work), if we do not map out a clear plan with relevant sequential steps then it is likely to remain merely a dream. As an example, I have wanted to learn to speak French for a number of years, which would be challenging for me but absolutely achievable. In 2014 I attended evening classes, shortly after that I bought a home study pack, but I still cannot speak French. If I am honest with myself I have not given it sufficient priority in my life and have not planned out what I needed to do and when to achieve it. Also, I have not fully bought into the benefits that learning another language will give me, perhaps deep down thinking it is a ‘nice to do’ rather than a ‘must do.’

Coaching can help!

If we are taking time to identify and set resolutions, then one would assume they are important to us. But how can we make sure that we see them through? One effective way of ensuring we achieve what we want in life is through hiring a coach. Sports people have used coaches for years in order to improve their performance, and these principles can be used in any area of our lives.

Coaching looks at what it is you want, where you are at the moment, and what you can do in order to get there. By taking part in a structured conversation based on you, and your goals, with the coach really listening to you, it is likely that your awareness will be raised, and you will have realisations and ‘aha!’ moments that you would not have by yourself. Coaching can also help you to achieve your goals quicker than if you were working on them alone.

Having received regular coaching myself, I can really vouch for the experience, the value of someone listening intently to you with no interruptions, giving you the space to think and speak, not providing advice but helping you to find the best solution, for you (not other people). For me, saying the words out loud in itself is a benefit which brings clarity to my thoughts. Coaching is extremely powerful and can turn nebulous, fleeting thoughts into clear, focussed actions that make a tangible difference.

What is it that you have always wanted to do, but haven’t managed to yet? This can be a ‘big’ thing, or a ‘small’ thing. Now, imagine what it would be like to reach the end of 2018 having actually achieved it! After all, ‘a dream without a plan is just a wish’

Katherine Paterson

 Good luck and have fun in setting and achieving your resolutions this year!

If you would like an initial conversation about achieving your goals for 2018 through coaching, please get in touch with me on 07703 359673 or email darren@darren-lawrence.com