The Anti-Resolution


Resolutions are a waste of time.


In the collective hangover the world wakes up with in January, there’s an understandable desire to detox, wipe the slate clean and start afresh.  So, bleary-eyed and with great self-flagellation, we haul ourselves from the unmade bed of 2016 and decide we will; join the gym, be kinder, do better and try harder.

resolutions are weak, flimsy nonsenses

Within days (..hours) (..ok, minutes) we have; stopped going to the gym, developed compassion-fatigue, concluded we can’t do any better and trying hard is DEFINITELY not worth the effort.

This is because resolutions are weak, flimsy nonsenses that hold ZERO expectation of fulfilment.  They are a collective joke, an afterthought, and a total waste of time.

Goals however…  Goals are what you’ve been waiting for!!

Based on the premise that you, and only you, get to decide how you spend your time and live your life, goal planning helps you make the things you SAY want to do, or be, become a living, ass-kicking reality.  The key is in the phrase ‘goal planning’ – it’s all about having a plan to make it real.

the goal is not busyness but purposefulness

And don’t worry, it’s not all navel-gazing introspection.  Some goals might be profound, some might even be world-changing, but others might be silly, frivolous, for FUN’s sake and just to enjoy life more!

Here’s how I do it:

  • Write a list of things I’m thankful for from 2016 (please note – NOT an ironic statement..)
  • Think about; some things I want to prioritise / get better at in 2017, problems I’d like to overcome, things I’m passionate about.
  • Based on the above, I write down no more than 6 goals (any more and I may as well be making resolutions).
  • Consider some different areas (not an exhaustive list);
    • Activities, Art, Character, Community, Courses / Study, Creativity, Extended family, Friends, Hobbies, Immediate family, Mental health, Money, Natural world, Neighbours, Personal administration, Physical health, Rest, Self-care, Skills, Social justice, Sports, Voluntary work, Paid work.
  • For e.g. this year, my goals include; ‘To get physically fit’, and ‘To have more fun with my wife’.
  • Because I’m married, I make sure that at least a couple of my goals are shared ones with my wife, so that we’re on the same page with things.
  • To help ‘make it real’ I imagine what life might look like if I achieved my goals.
  • I then plan some simple, practical next steps (2-3 for each goal).
  • I keep the goals SMART by making them:
    • S – specific
    • M – measurable
    • A – attainable
    • R – relevant
    • T – time-limited
  • I plan when I’m going to review the goals (at least every 3 months – and adjust practical steps, etc. accordingly).
  • I tell my wife and close friends about my goals and ask them to check-in with me regularly to see how I’m doing with them. This encourages me and motivates me to stick to my plan.

If you have a go at goal planning, REMEMBER: the goal is not busyness but purposefulness, i.e. not living your life ‘by accident’.

The good news is you and only you get to decide how you live your life and how you’re going to spend your time in 2017.

What will you do with your 525,600 minutes?

By Si Cook