Making resolutions? Build a framework

Regardless of wether you love or hate the idea of New Years resolutions, a lot of people find it a great time of year to focus on the potential of what lies ahead.

There have been years where I have made none at all and others where I have been audaciously ambitious. I decided to approach this year a little differently. Previously I have set my eyes on classic and cliched goals such as ‘getting healthier’ and ‘doing more creative projects’.

The first and blindingly obvious mistake with setting out resolutions like this is they are not quantifiable. I tried to improve that by setting my eyes on completing a 10km run in under 40 minutes. In 2012, I ran a handful of times. None of these run times made the resolution.

This year I decided to take a different approach to my resolutions. Instead of setting a bunch of targets and hoping that lifestyle choices don’t get in the way, I looked at what I wanted and what framework I would need to create to make it happen. Personally, I know that I fail to do things if I don’t plan them and have them in my diary. I also know that if I plan too much and too far in advance I end up with too many clashed diary entires. I fail again.

Here is the solution I’m trying, it is pretty simple. Without boring you with a full list of my resolutions, below is a quick walkthrough of what I have done to try and run more this year:

I know I need to fit in running a few times a week, a mix of distance, interval and fast runs. I now have a weekly email that arrives using the If This Then That service. The message in the email tells me to do a few simple things; book in 2-3 runs, book in a long cycle ride, book a couple of nights cooking something new and it goes on. This email arrives on a Monday morning, while I’m setting up my week at work and drinking the first coffee of the week.

Understanding what works for you is really important. Break down the elements needed for the resolution, your time and when you can commit to dedicating the time needed. I know that each week that starts I have to sit down and organise the working week, it takes 5 minutes extra to organise my personal week too. This weekly action of reviewing and booking will automatically increase the amount of hours I’m putting into the activities that make up my resolutions.