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6 Guilt-Free Steps To Review Your New Year Resolutions

6 Guilt-Free Steps To Review Your New Year Resolutions
New Year Resolutions

    (Photo by brungrrl)

    The end of the year is always a good time for me to review my resolutions and take stock of what I have done over the past year.

    However, for some people, reviewing New Year resolutions can be a painful affair. Some of you may have goals unaccomplished. A resolution review is just a stark reminder of how little you have achieved. You may feel guilty and disappointed about your lack of discipline to follow through on your goals. As much as possible, you will want to avoid being reminded of these little failings.

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    From this perspective, I can certainly empathize with how painful this exercise can be. I can also understand why some people think that setting New Year resolutions is just a crap idea; it’s simply setting yourself up for lots of disappointment later on.

    I believe in setting New Year resolutions, though, and I have being doing this for the past 6 years. This yearly exercise has contributed much to improving my life; it gives me a sense of direction as I go about my daily activities. Before this, my life without goals was like sailing without a destination – you leave it to the wind to bring you to wherever you end up at. We only live once, and I don’t like to leave the outcomes of my life to chance.

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    Having said that, most of the time, I don’t achieve all my goals. I do achieve a good portion of my goals but there are always some I don’t achieve. I feel that there is nothing wrong with missing out on your resolutions and it is simply a matter of perspective. Today I like to offer some tips to help you review your New Year Resolutions guilt-free:

    1. Stop Beating Yourself Up! Most personal development literature tells us to set goals and go out there to achieve it. None tells us to set goals, leave it there and forget it. As such, the mentality of people setting goals is that we must achieve the goals or we would have failed. When we don’t achieve our goals, the resulting emotions are guilt, disappointment and a sense of failure. As such, it’s natural for resolution reviews to turn into a stressful affair. With such a perspective, I cannot imagine what else it can be. My advice – stop beating yourself up! I guess this has much to do with the inculcation of our education system – you either pass or you fail. No, resolution review doesn’t have to be this way. There are many reasons why you don’t achieve your goals, and not all of them are due to your personal failure. Let’s take a look at some of them next.
    2. Don’t Make Too Many Big Resolutions In this world filled with options, it’s easy for us to get distracted. You may have set too many resolutions at the spur of the moment and ended up with a long laundry list for the year. With so many goals to achieve, how much time and attention can you realistically commit to each? If you stretch yourself too thin, then you’ll only stress yourself out and disappoint yourself more when you have worked so hard and achieved so little. I believe it’s realistic to have only two to three major resolutions and less than ten minor ones for the entire year. A major resolution is any project that may take months of effort to complete. As such, by doing two to three, you’ve already taken up a good portion of the year.
    3. Do You REALLY Want That Resolution? The next question to ask yourself is if you really want to achieve that resolution. What will achieving that resolution mean to you? How will that make you feel? Successful people are successful because they focus on a small number of important goals at a time and worked really hard at it until they achieve the results that they want. If they are easily distracted by the next big-hit sensational opportunity or passing fad, then they wouldn’t have achieved the same level of success.
    4. Wrong Place, Wrong Time. OK, what if you have been focused and yet you’re still not achieving your goals? Look at the circumstances you’re in. Other than hard work, external elements also play a part to your success. If you are operating in an environment which is not in favor of your resolutions, then you’ll have a lesser chance of achieving it. Simply said, you are at the wrong place and the wrong time if you can’t answer “yes” to at least one, and preferably all, of these questions:
      1. Do you have a support group to discuss ideas and which provides morale support?
      2. Do you have access to the relevant knowledge, skills, experiences to achieve your resolutions?
      3. Are people around you in favor of your resolution – in opinion and in actions?
    5. Connect The Dots. Don’t view resolution review as a test where you either pass or fail. Personally, I use the resolution review as a self-discovery exercise to know myself better. As highlighted in earlier points, there are many reasons why you don’t achieve your resolutions and not all of them are about your failings as an individual. For those goals that you achieve, how did you manage to achieve them? Likewise, ask the same questions for those you didn’t achieve. Over time, you can see a trend in the things that you achieve, and the things that you always seem to miss. Perhaps, it’s simply not important enough, or you’re not in an environment conducive to this goal or it is simply not leveraging your strengths.

      Reviewing your resolutions allows you to connect the dots, which in turn, allows you to look forward with more self-knowledge and confidence.

    6. Drop Irrelevant Goals. Once you are able to connect the dots, you will start to see that some goals are just not meant to be. It’s not because you are not disciplined enough to follow through or that you are a failure; it’s just not meant to be. If you are not as smart as Einstein or as techno-savvy as Steve Jobs, you don’t have to feel bad about it, you are here for a different reason. There is certainly something else greater which is meant for you. By dropping unsuitable and irrelevant goals, you can focus on the more important ones relevant to you. So feel free to drop resolutions if they’re not suitable – guilt-free and honestly.

    View Your Resolutions in a New Light

    Learning how to view resolution review in a new light is fundamental to making this a consistent habit.

    I’m not saying that it’s ok to give up on your goals easily and find excuses to let yourself off the hook. I’m just saying that we have to be smarter about reviewing our resolutions – and sometimes this means going easy on yourself and reviewing the circumstances in its entirety, not just at your own failings.

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    When you step back and widen your perspective, you will be able to make a better judgment if the goal is worth pursuing in the first place. If it isn’t, drop it without guilt and move on to something else. If it is important, ask yourself why you aren’t achieving it and how you can do better in the New Year. Beating yourself up just ain’t going to get you anywhere!

    I wish you happy holidays and have a happy review!

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    More by this author

    Lawrence Cheok

    Lawrence writes about living a balance life and provide tips for improving your career.

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    Last Updated on September 28, 2020

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

    At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

    Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

    One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

    When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

    So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

    Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

    This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

    Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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    When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

    Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

    One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

    Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

    An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

    When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

    Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

    Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

    We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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    By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

    Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

    While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

    I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

    You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

    Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

    When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

    Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

    Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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    Con #2: Less Human Interaction

    One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

    Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

    Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

    This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

    While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

    Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

    Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

    This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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    For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

    Con #4: Unique Distractions

    Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

    For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

    To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

    Final Thoughts

    Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

    We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

    More About Working From Home

    Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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