The new year starts tomorrow and this is the time when people try to assuage their guilt from there over indulgence over the festive season by making bold statements about what they want to achieve in the coming year. Obviously, this is something I have tried to do in the past. I've said that I would eat better, call my relatives more and learn the guitar (again) but each year the enthusiasm fades and I am left looking back at these resolutions with a mixture of shame and regret. This is clearly not healthy. As you can see, I'm a bit early. Almost every lifestyle blog and vlog you care to name will be hitting their subscribers in January with top tips of favourite resolutions. I'm not being savvy by getting in early with my article, I just don't like the fact that January the 1st is given such importance as the day to start being a better person. I find it can be overwhelming that the beginning of the year is the appointed time to stock up your fridge with healthy food and hit the gym. I know it may sound a bit cliche, but every day really is a new opportunity to do the right thing. So let's start now.
Starting can be the easy bit, it's sticking to those goals that's the tricky part. For me, finding out what I wanted to do seemed easy enough, it was maintaining the effort and consistency that was hard. It reminds me of a quote attributed to the bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman; “Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights."
With that said, I wanted to share how I intend to make 2018 the 'Year of Betterment'. There are things that I want to do in the next 12 months to make me a better person. I'm not using the word 'resolutions' as it makes me think of all the past promises I've made to myself and all the disappointment I felt when I failed. So instead I'm thinking of where I want to be in 12 months. What do I want life to be like this time next year? Here we go.
1) This time next year I have a body shape in happy with. Getting into shape frequently tops the lists of the most common New Years resolutions but they can often be vague to the point of being useless. Statements like 'go to the gym more' or 'get in shape' can sound warm and optimistic but it lacks the clarity of how you are going to get what you want. 'Goto the gym more' should really be something like 'visit the gym at least 3 times a week for a minimum of 40 minutes each occasion'. It doesn't quite have the same ring to it but it is something you can easily monitor and see if you are on track.
So why have I just ignored that piece of advice with my intangible aspiration of getting a better physique? The point of this article is really about shouting aloud those lofty goals and to make myself accountable to them. The nitty gritty of getting to where I want to be in 12 months will include making full use of my new gym membership, eating food that's not going to sabotage my goals and keeping myself on track by logging my progress and sharing it regularly and publicly.
2) This time next year I will be fluent in French. This has been bugging me for years. I've been travelling to France on and off each year since I was a child. I have been blessed by having amazing friends in France who have seen me grow up, but I feel guilty that they have had to converse with me in English. I feel like a burden when they have to interrupt their conversation to switch to English in order to include me. I have had more opportunities than most to be proficient, but complacency has taken over.
How am I going to achieve this? The greatest enemy to anyone trying to learn anything is forgetting. This is especially true when trying to learn a language filled with alien words and reams of grammar. Clearly, the best way to become fluent is to pack up everything and bunk in my mate's spare room in the north of France. Being saturated in a language doesn't give you the chance to forget. Unfortunately, that's not an option available to everyone. More realistically for me is using a selection of language apps on a daily basis, reading some books and possibly enrolling myself in a college early in 2018. There are some exciting methods of language learning being developed as we understand more about how the mind works and how we retain and recall information. The bottom line is that the only way I will fail is if I don't commit the required effort.
3) This time next year I will be a productivity ninja! I've always been obsessed to the point of distraction with being more productive and getting more done with the time I have. I've tried all sorts of systems and workflows to get to the bliss-full state of distraction-free working. So what's not working, it's the classic problem of knowing what to do doesn't always translate to actually doing it.
So how do I fix this particular problem, this brings me nicely on to my conclusion.
All of these promises require time, dedication and a commitment to do things differently. Doing the same thing over and over again and getting despondent at the same results can either drain a persons desire to try again or it can inspire that person to adapt and try something new. After years of the same results, I indeed to try something new.
I can't do it alone though. I am lucky to have the support of my girlfriend and my friends. I'm also lucky in that I have you, the reader, keeping me accountable. That's why I post every workout selfie (and soon, other measures of my progress) and look forward to the words of support from my friends.
Let me know what you hope to do differently in the next 12 months and what you want to be this time next year. Also, I also made a video about how a change in your thinking can help you overcome your obstacles. I have a feeling I will be needing all the tricks I can get in the next 365 days.