What To Do Before You Make Any New Year’s Resolutions

December 11th 2020

All good things come in threes (or so it is said) so here are 3 things I suggest you reflect on before we hit New Year


I am not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions.  I tend to work on the premise that if you want to start something on Jan 1st, you are probably procrastinating as if you really wanted to make that change, NOW is a good time!

However, this is a time of year when it is natural to have a bit of a reflection – and given the year many of us have had, I recommend making it brief!!

It’s a bit like looking in the rear view mirror – it’s a quick glance to see if anything is about to overtake you before you pull out into the fast lane.

Three questions (that may lead to something like the three wise men - got to get a bit of Christmas in here!!!)

Here are three questions that I suggest you reflect on before moving out into next year:

– What thing are you most proud of this year?
– What went wrong that you have learned from?
– What one thing is not serving you that should stay in this year and not find it’s way into the next one?

For me, the middle question is easiest to answer.  There has been A LOT that went wrong and the learning from it, whilst painful at times has been invaluable (remember that song, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger…?)

The first one is an encouragement to focus on the good.  We have a natural tendency to focus on what went wrong so it is important to balance that up.  And if you can, make a list of things.  Take a bit of time and really notice all the things that have happened this year that you can be proud of yourself for.

And then there is the last one…..

I often use the metaphor of life being like a book (I’ve got really bored of ‘life being a journey!!) and this time of the year we are coming to the end of a chapter.  In next year’s chapter, many of the characters in your book will continue to be part of your story.  Some characters may not feature, new ones come in but ultimately it is YOUR story, so write it well.  And the story will be all the stronger if you learn from the past so that the next chapter sees you wiser, stronger and more resourceful.

And that is the purpose of reflection

Reflecting on the past is not to dwell in it, but to learn from it to make the future the best it can be.  Take the good bits forward (like what you are proud of and have learned from.)  Note the bits that didn’t go to plan and find new ways of not repeating them –  otherwise you are writing yourself a book akin to ground hog day!!

And then having made those observations, pull out into the fast lane and make the next stage in your journey, smooth driving (oops..  dropped into that journey metaphor again!!)

And finally, here are a few things you might want to add to bring with you into the New Year.  Over advent I have been sharing a tip on Facebook each day that can be used to manage stress.  Some of them help prevent it, others help to reduce stress, and there are three that I call my first aid techniques – those ones to use in an emergency!

The videos can all be watched on YouTube here so no matter what time of year, you can add to your tool kit to keep the car running smoothly!!

And with that, I wish you a stress free entrance into the New Year and beyond.

Caroline Cavanagh is an anxiety specialist  and hypnotherapist in Salisbury, Wiltshire.  She is an author and public speaker and would love to talk to you if you would like to know more about her work

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