January is traditionally a time of looking forward and looking back. A time to consider the challenges – and failures – of the year before. To set resolutions and plan for a better year ahead. Full of good intentions, these resolutions are usually broken by the end of the month.I have never been a fan of the new year’s resolution. They seem a tad arbitrary – with a fixed deadline 12 months away, made on a whim after too much indulgence over the December weeks. Resolution means ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something’. And that is the issue – they are too firm.
The problem with resolutions is they don’t give you the chance to change things when a change in circumstances happen; meaning you are more than likely going to fail. As a result, you feel like a failure. For example: you may have decided 2020 was the year to get fit, to run 10K, to be your best self. But then we all know what happened next: a pandemic. Maybe you had a health problem yourself, or a family care issue, or maybe work just got very very busy – and you no longer have the ability or time to dedicate to your resolution. It feels like a failure.
And that is just not realistic. Change happens, and it happens a lot. Look back to January 2020. What did you think would be going on in your work or life now? Could you have predicted everything the year threw at you? I doubt it. Resolutions undermine our self-belief. They do of course help us to feel hopeful – for a short while. But that can be dashed when they become too difficult to maintain. The outcome being that we feel like we have somehow let ourselves or other people down.
If this resonates with you, consider a different approach for 2021. One where you build in regular reflection and review to inform your decisions. This means constantly monitoring what is working and what could be done differently. Following this process creates space for learning and growing, and the ability to adapt to new challenges as they arise. This in turn helps to build confidence in yourself and your convictions.
Self-confidence means having faith in your own abilities and being able to rely on yourself. It also means being ready to admit you are not perfect – whilst maintaining a positive outlook, so that you can learn. For example, you reflect on what you have done to enhance your fitness in the last few weeks and what got in the way of that. You look head, and consider ways in which you could make small changes that will enable you to get fitter. You reflect on the choices you have – and the barriers you face.
A useful tool to help with this kind of reflection is a personal SWOT analysis. Try asking yourself these questions:
By undertaking this kind of reflective practice every few weeks you can build your confidence and adapt to the world around you. Whether you are looking to wind down, take a step up in your career, concentrate on personal growth, or simply aim to stay happy – a process of regular reflection builds your self-belief and self-awareness.
So, instead of setting yourself a ‘do or don’t’ resolution, try building your confidence this year.
If you’d like to explore the ideas in this blog further, take a look at =mc’s 1-day Developing Personal Presence course.