The arrival of January means the end of one year, and the beginning of another. A new chapter. An opportunity to reset, reflect and try not to panic about the speed with which 2017 swept past. If you’re anything like me, you may be slightly confused about how “this time last year” was a year ago. Despite the pipe dreams of 2017 and airtime given to the big New Year’s resolution, it ticked along without much dramatic change from the year before; by and large you are much the same person. We’re always a bit surprised at this, but why are we surprised? Is it really that surprising that when we ‘resolve’ to make a change, but forgo forming any kind of strategy as to how it might happen, we miss the mark. Its like wanting to get a job but not sharing your resume or expecting bread to come out of the bag hot and toasted. You’re expecting the effect without considering the cause, or more specifically, the method.

“I should set another resolution!” seems to be the typical Eureka moment. The “new year, new me” methodology; something which will focus attention onto those aspects of your life which you feel need it. In my experience, resolution setters typically fall into two camps. Camp A genuinely believe their commitment to their resolution and talk about it actively… for January at least. Camp B introduce their resolution with “I might do…” and follow it up with “but I never keep them”. In other words, I have zero intention of making any active changes and I’m OK with that. Unfortunately, even Camp A tend to come up short as it’s one thing to believe, but a very different thing to commit.

The 5x most common resolutions in the UK are:

1. Eat better    2. Exercise more    3. Spend less money     4. Self care/Get more sleep     5. Read more

They echo like the stream of ideas which run through your mind when suffering from hangover anxiety, that are forgotten after 12hours of sleep. They also sound remarkably like some of my previous resolutions which lay, unfulfilled. Nothing really ever shifted until last year. Last year, instead of resolutions, I made goals. Goals are much more fixed than resolutions and sit much less comfortably with lack of intention. Shifting the language around the change you’re looking to make is step number one as what seemed like an ideal starts to become a much clearer ambition. For example, “read more” is quite vague. How much more? What kind of books? Whereas setting a goal to read 16 books in 2018 is far easier to visualise. Beyond language though, committing to a set goal requires a degree of sacrifice… uh oh.

Maybe its just me, but I find setting clear goals more intimidating than loose resolutions, as they come with a clear possibility of failure. Being deliberately vague has been a wonderful comfort blanket during the day to day, convincing myself that I “kinda am doing it”. It essentially allows you to interpret what you have achieved as success. If you are more fixed, that excuse no longer provides comfort. But here’s the thing. Without a fixed goal of what change looks like, change won’t be made, and if you believe that your life should tell an exciting story, then it needs plot developments. The kind of benchmarks goals can define. As ‘Titanic’ Director, James Cameron said: “if you set your goals ridiculously high and its a failure, you will fail above everyone elses’ success”.

OK… so goals are set and change will be made? Great! Well, not exactly… its one thing to set goals but they won’t be realised unless they’re tracked, and regularly. I’ll give a personal example. In 2017 one of my goals was to read two books a month. That felt doable to me. Ambitious but doable. (I’m not a particularly quick reader). In June, I did a mini check in and realised I’d read 5 books… yep, 5 out of 24. I was somewhat off target, averaging half of what I was aiming at. By 31st of December 2017 (against a ticking clock), I managed 23.  Without that check in, I most likely would have read 10. Now thats a very specific, measurable example and your goals may not be that specific, however I would encourage you to find a way to make them measurable, because with tracking comes accountability and if you really, genuinely are committed to something, accountability is critical.

So what does 2018 look like to you? Whatever it is, know that what you’re after is possible so long as you’re ready for it.

Happy New Year and Good Luck! Hope you’re 2018 is as good as Cardi B’s 2017…

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Lexy is a writer, DJ and marketing professional living in London. She is a gemini and a feminist who loves coffee and leopard print.