New Year, New You. I am not Buying Into That.
Definition*: Shiny, straight out of the packaging, never used. New.
*unofficial and for the purposes of demonstrating my point in this article
The messages are everywhere. It is a New Year, time to be New again. New body, New mindset, New direction, New career. New You.
New, new new new new.
The message of “New YOU” is clear. You need to start again from scratch. Clearly, you achieved nothing last year and therefore have nothing to build on from the previous year. You should delete everything that has passed, erase your mistakes, experiences, learnings and wisdom and start again with a blank canvas.
New YOU implies that the old you was no good, and further reinforces why advertising is so powerful. It totally erodes your self-esteem and makes you panic. Hooray for advertisers. F*#k Off.
I hope you agree that this is not a healthy approach.
Every year millions of people around the world make resolutions. I guarantee that 99% of those same resolutions were made last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. We make the same ones again and again believing/hoping that, finally, we may actually get the outcome we want.
A resolution is a concept of three parts:
- CLARITY that there is something in your life that you want to improve.
- CHOICE to make the changes necessary to make this thing happen.
- ACTION. You can resolve all you like to change things, but nothing will shift without action.
I made the decision towards the end of last year that I was not going to create annual resolutions anymore. Instead I created MyMaximalLIST– a decade long approach to achieving a whole range of personal and professional goals. You might ask, isn’t it easier to make 12-month goals than a 10-year goal?
No, I don’t think it is. Because ‘life’ gets in the way so often when you are a mum, that you need to have a longer perspective. Or risk finding yourself in December again, beating yourself up that you did not achieve what you thought you would.
With the Maximalist approach you have the happy task of finding 40 things that you’ve always wanted to do, and experiences you have always wanted to have and write them down. You get to dream BIG because you have up to a decade to make them happen.
By creating your own MaximaLIST , you immediately get your mind imagining things for yourself that you may not be able to achieve in only 12 months, but heck, could probably do in 5-10 years. And if you manage to tick 1 of 2 off your list this year, you can celebrate your achievements and move into the next year all super excited to see what it will bring you.
Here is a personal example I would like to share of how a resolution can become much richer with the Maximalist approach. On 22 December, I lay in bed with a mindbending hangover, uttering the words, “I’m done with alcohol.” This was the week of Christmas and New Year’s Eve, where all the silliness of the silly season truly happens. And I wanted no part of it.
If in response to this, I had made a New Year’s Resolution, here is how it would have played out:
I do dumb shit when I am drunk. In a nutshell, my 40th birthday in May turned into a six month party binge. Granted, it was a lot of fun. Well, until the 5th vodka of the evening, when things normally spiralled and I inevitably vomited the day after and suffered terrible hangovers. With flickers of memories that may haunt me for years to come. Or come back to bite me. Onya, Miz!
I chose to party hard and live with the consequences. Now, however, I choose to take a break from alcohol.
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION: I will not be drink alcohol for the next 12 weeks.
While I may have kept to the 12 weeks of not partying like a cougar, it would not have been long before I was back at Brix*
*The nightclub under the Hyatt Hotel, Singapore. Notorious as a pick up joint for Singapore’s prostitutes. But the band is awesome and expat wives go there to dance the night away, without being bugged by anyone.
Last week I was watching a great Jeunesse Google Hangout with Mark MacDonald, best-selling author and nutritionist who has come on board to advise on a pilot study for Jeunesse’s new inch loss system, Zen Bodi. He said something great on the call,
“Always say to yourself, Is this moving me closer to my goal or away from it.”
This is how the same scenario looks with the Maximalist approach.
On 22 December, I lay in bed with a mindbending hangover, uttering the words, “I’m done with alcohol.”
I did not make any New Year’s Resolutions as a result of feeling as shit as I did.
One of the desires I have on my maximalist is to have the body of a bodybuilder. It is a physique type I have always liked and I want to feel strong. Now obviously, the kind of partying I did last year is moving me away from this goal.
So instead of thinking small like I would have with a New Year’s Resolution, I can now think Big and make one of the items on my Maximalist a reality. Now, in place of just cutting alcohol for 12 weeks, I will use the same 12 weeks to start bodybuilding. Obviously, I will not be drinking alcohol and I will start training very hard.
And this 12 week period, which I hope to continue, will put me on a path to long term fitness and health which I hope to enjoy for my entire 40s.
Living 40 To The Max is all about reclaiming your identity, and finding happiness and purpose by going out and doing all the things you’ve always wanted to do. By creating your own MaximaLIST, you will get clarity about what this looks like for you. There is no more, “wouldn’t it be great if” or “oh, I wish I could…”
Just put it on your list and stick it up on your wall. You will notice that opportunities soon arise that enable you to achieve what is on your MaximaLIST. You will find that you are filling the spare 1 or 2 hours a day or a week to make these things happen.
Go ahead, write down the 40 things that you are going to do in your 40s. Make your MaximaLIST.
Encourage your friends to do theirs too by sharing this article. Who knows? You and your friends may want to achieve some of the same things, and you can do them together. I have already been contacted by a cousin who also wants to walk the Great Wall of China, and we are looking at when we can make this happen.
Wishing you all a very fulfilling and healthy 2016. Let’s get it happening!