Regrets and resolutions are two things I have never had a whole lot of time for. Allow me to explain – first, regrets are generally a waste of mental and emotional energy. Unless you have committed a heinous crime for which regrets are entirely appropriate, looking back on whatever you regret will hold you back from moving forward. It is better to accept that you cannot change the past, accept what has been done or hasn’t been done, and look ahead to a more constructive, productive future.
As for resolutions, it’s not the act of making a resolution that bothers me. Rather, it is pinning resolutions to the new year that strikes me as unhelpful. As another year draws to a close, it is natural that we start to look back at 2021 and marvel at how fast time seems to pass – and this is the problem. The panic that sets in as the days on the 2021 calendar whittle away can lead to either ill-thought-out resolutions or an atrophy that stops anything getting done.
When you have made the decision that something needs to change or you need to get something done that you have been putting off for a long time, why wait for the new year? There is still plenty of 2021 left to make a start on whatever it is that you want to achieve.
A no-time-like-the-present attitude is especially valuable for making resolutions about your professional life. Even with the usual end-of-year festivities filling our December calendars, there is still time to do the groundwork for positive change.
Maybe you’ve resolved to set up processes to make your workplace more effective. Perhaps it’s time for switching to a digital filing system to improve efficiency and save a few trees. No matter what you want to do better, why wait for 2022 to get on with it? The inevitable result of delaying these sorts of resolutions until the new year is that they will fall through the cracks.
When January rolls around, people return from holidays, work gets busy again – and the well-intentioned plans to audit your processes or investigate a digital solution for the reams of files, or whatever you wanted to improve, get lost. Before you know it, it is December 2022 and you are again wondering what happened to the year.
It is too easy to make a resolution in December 2021 and claim you’ll take action in January 2022, but that is just cheap talk. Instead, try taking advantage of the time we do have in December to do things that are outside the regular workday routine. If your business quietens down in the run-up to the holiday season, it is tempting to take your foot right off the gas. But by taking positive action now, you will be several steps ahead when things get busy again.
Indeed, why not make and act on resolutions throughout the year? If it’s May and you come up with a bright idea to improve your business, it makes no sense to wait until the following January to do something about it. Making and, more importantly, acting on resolutions should be an all-year-round activity – and, as a bonus, you will probably find you have far fewer regrets.