New Year, New Me – Which Part Should I Improve?

Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

New Year’s Eve.

People are looking tired of a long year. Some need help verbalising where all the stress came from. Others have smoking guns pointing straight to “the job”. But truth be told, they don’t probably know for sure.

This year I had a good laugh when a friend of mine joked, “new year, all troubles will be erased by magic at midnight”. But his joke kept me thinking for a couple of days.

In some countries, eating twelve raisins on New Year’s Eve is expected, one for each clock chime. A wish should chaperone each raisin – the so-called “New Year’s Resolutions”.

However, people will only take a short time to drop their new year’s resolutions. If we admit some pseudoscience in these sentences, each year, by the third Monday of January, people face the saddest day of the year – The Blue Monday. All the dopamine and adrenaline of New Year’s Eve are gone by now. And the New Year’s Resolutions with them.

Why do people give up so quickly on their resolutions?

Several factors have a saying in this, but I want to focus on just one – Meaning.

Many of these resolutions are void of meaning. You probably disagree when you wished, “this year, I will hit the gym hard, if not daily”, or “this year, I will be more organised and will not miss any deadline at work”. 

Let us agree to disagree.

What is your why? What is the real reason for those resolutions? And if your answers are “because I want to look good and drop some weight” or “because I want to be promoted this year”, I have to say with sorrow those are void intentions.

A year is a long time to struggle to keep up with empty intents. That’s why people drop their resolutions at the first opportunity.

What most people miss is having a deeper awareness of themselves. Why is it so important to have that promotion? Why is it so important to drop that weight? 

What is the hidden WHY?

Even with that question well answered and worked out, sometimes we leave things behind for other stuff.

Is the real meaning not strong enough to keep us on guard?

You have a strong WHY for your daily workouts and are solid on your decision. And you also have your strong WHY for that promotion you are fighting for. 

Suddenly both desires clashes when one day you need to grind a little later at work and you have to skip a workout.

The trouble is when we have to prioritise concurrent desires.

Let me give you a hint.

For years coaches have been using a simple but powerful awareness tool – the Coaching Wheel.

Coaching Wheel I use in my coaching practice

Imagine that you divide your entire life into eight parts:

  • Health
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Hobbies
  • Work-Life Balance
  • Professional Growth
  • Finances
  • Spiritual Growth

Take your time to assess how good you think you are in each one of those fields. You have to be true to yourself. There is no one picking. Be candid with yourself. Pick a level between 1 (worst) and 10 (best).

Don’t foul yourself. Only some fields need to reach level 10. Your “WHYs” will answer which areas you are more concerned with or value the most.

Spider Web Graph

You should end up with a spider graph. As you see, the exercise is simple to execute.

If you remain humble and genuine in the process, it should take your time.

I’ve written about family, relationships, wellness, work, finances, etc. But we can focus on just one area. I have done this with some of my teams when they want to select their yearly goals. We pick “Work” as the primary target and split it into several subareas related to our day-to-day as software developers, for instance, code reviewing, interdepartmental communication, and pair-programming with juniors, for example. Splitting the primary are into subareas will easily allow them to see where they want to focus their improvement for the year so their yearly goals are born.

And you can do this in any particular area of your life.

It can also be done for a business: Staff Retention, Market Share, Innovation, Profit Margin, Turnover, Client Satisfaction, Marketing, and Integrity.

This is just an example. The fundamental idea remains valid. You will end with a visual comparison of 8 or more areas. And it will help you choose where you want to be focused. This will bring some CLARITY to your WHYs.

Please remember. To increase the probability of success in improving the area(s) you have chosen, just have three goals tops! (you can find more on writing goals with SMART or GROW frameworks on these links)

I wish you a great 2023!!

Yours truly,

Ricardo Castelhano