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Shifting the focus of New Year’s resolutions

By Madalyn OliverNew Years Calendar

New Year’s Eve is often a time of fresh starts, hopeful beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. Many individuals use this time to reflect upon the year that has passed and to make plans to improve upon themselves in the year to come.  For a large proportion of Australian’s this plan involves losing weight and/or dieting. However, more often than not, these resolutions are unsuccessful and forgotten within only a matter of weeks. Despite the lack of success, time and time again the same resolutions are made with the hope that there will be a different outcome.

As 2015 draws to a close perhaps it is a chance for us to challenge ourselves and try something new. That is, rather than forming resolutions that focus on our perceived shortcomings, particularly those around appearance, we could instead focus on prioritising the things in life that we value. Through identifying and clarifying our values (i.e. what gives our life a sense of meaning and purpose) we can develop an ongoing guide and clear motivation for our behaviour to ensure that we are moving towards a rich and meaningful life.

Below are some questions that you may find useful to ask yourself in order to clarify your own values.

  • What’s important to you?
  • What sort of person do you want to be?
  • What do you want to stand for in life?
  • What do you care about?
  • How do you want to behave?
  • What personal strengths and qualities do you want to develop?

Some common areas of life that are valued by people include family relations, intimate relationships, parenting, friendships, career, education, personal growth, leisure, spirituality, community and health. You may find that some of these areas hold no importance whatsoever to you whilst others are of high importance. You may also notice that you have identified some values that fall outside of these areas. This is completely normal as not everyone has the same values.

Consider where you stand today in terms of how much you are currently living out the values that matter most to you, where you would like to be and what actions need to be put in place in the New Year to support you to live out these values.

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