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Insight 10 January 2017

New Year, same you

According to the results of a 2015 ComRes survey of British adults, only one in eight British adults will achieve their New Years’ resolutions.

Insights Global Learning Innovation Strategist Doug Upchurch attributes this low success rate to the way we set out to ‘improve’ ourselves – the biggest problem being that our resolutions have become exhaustive lists of things we want to change and that negate our self-worth. This approach sets up even our best intentions for failure.

Often, the resolutions we set, like losing weight or being better in a specific area, are inherently diminishing of who we are today. They’re based on overcoming perceived flaws, leaving our old selves behind and becoming someone new.

Doug said: “This approach fails to recognise the experiences and characteristics that make us who we are today. Indeed, we’re better able to problem-solve, make positive changes and be the most effective version of ourselves when we understand, accept and appreciate who we are, right now.

“This New Year, spend some time reflecting on what you love and appreciate about yourself, before making a single resolution.”

He added: “Instead of fantasising about the ‘new you’ you want to be in the New Year, focus on developing a base of self-understanding and acceptance of the person you are now. From this foundation, you can make conscious choices for how you want to experience your future and what adjustments you’d like to realise.

Drawing on his 16 years’ experience in the field of learning and development, Doug has identified some guidelines for a ‘New Year, same you’.

  • Develop greater self-awareness, acceptance and appreciation to allow you to make conscious decisions about areas you want to improve in your life that are rooted in reality. You’re more likely to connect your intentions with results when you embrace who you are.
  • Consider how you can better leverage something you appreciate about yourself in one aspect of your life, in another. Instead of doing something new and different, simply evolve and expand something you are already great at and use it in an environment or context you don’t normally use it in.
  • When you decide to make improvements in your life, do it because you’re worth it – not because you perceive yourself to be deficient in certain areas.
  • And try adding only one new resolution for every three things you plan to keep doing or being, in the year ahead.

Doug said: It’s time to throw away the fantasies about being a ‘new you’ in the New Year. Setting resolutions rooted in awareness, acceptance and perspective enable you to connect good intentions with positive results.

“Ultimately, by enhancing your understanding of yourself, accepting what you can and can’t change and setting expectations rooted in reality and authenticity, you can head into the New Year prepared to navigate whatever comes across your path.”
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