What do you want to do in 2020? Who do you want to be or become? The ritual of setting New Year resolutions by taking stock of the past 365 days is a cleansing one and yet, according to this study, 80 percent of people fail to stick to their own promises for longer than six weeks. “Well, it was a valiant effort,” we tell ourselves in February.
Instead of making up a wishy-washy-“I’m-going-to-exercise-more” resolution at a tipsy 11.56pm on December 31, consider taking a literal leaf out of celebrity hair stylist Jen Atkin’s diary – preferably a few days out from the fireworks display. Taking the time to fill out her six questions really causes you to reflect on not only what you want to do in the new decade, but what you actually would be capable of if there was zero way to fail.
For most of us, the things holding us back are time, money or personal circumstance. (How do you indeed take off on a month-long trip to the Greek Islands with two little children and a business to run?) But, as mostly women in our 20s, 30s and 40s, it’s important to think about Atkin’s question: What would you do if there was no way to fail? In six months, what you would like to have? Be? And do? OK, and in 12 months, what you would like to have? Be? And do?
Think about these like British writer Alan Watt’s would think of them: “What makes you itch? What sort of a situation would you like? What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life?” Be inspired here.
Thanks to Atkin, what emerged out of my head and onto the paper before me were dreams I had filed away in my brain for a rainy day – or at least under “Things to Consider on the 9th of Never”.
Atkin might seem like an odd choice of a life coach. Yes, she does the Kardashian’s hair (but it’s really good hair!) and to be honest, she won me as a lifelong fan by posting a meme that read “PSA: If you see a woman who is working super hard to become who she’s meant to be, and achieve the things she wants to achieve, and you have nothing to add to her, or to give back to her in any way, please just leave her the f*** alone.” I mean, just yes.
The next part of Atkin’s New Year’s resolution guide is to set actionable goals which are split into personal, health, career, recreation and spiritual. Four for each, so hop to it!
The catch? You have to check in with yourself half-way through the year. “Every six months I set goals and intentions and look at my previous ones,” writes Atkin. “I’m a few days late but July 1st is always a good time to check in with where you’re headed! #StayFocused.”
At a recent Thanksgiving lunch with my girlfriends, I asked everybody to take the time to write down something that they were grateful for in each of our friends; what inspires them about that person and what their favourite memories together were. After several ciders and even more mulled wines – I’m writing this from New York, hence the lack of chilled Rosé – the response was this beautiful outpouring of appreciation and love that we never hear enough of unless, I don’t know, someone dies!
It hit me then that in our busy lives where the pace of it takes precedence over the reasons we do what we do, we never take the time to reflect – and put into words – the value of those around us.
Come New Years, however, it’s time to reflect on ourselves and give our own beings the best possible chance of recognising and fulfilling the things we’ve always wanted to do. And Jen Atkin’s guide is the perfect spot to start.
Happy resolution setting! And my wish for you in the new decade is that you push for something that you really, really want.