Mr./Madam Toastmaster, Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters and very welcome guests. This is my fourth speech on the Dynamic Leadership Pathway, the purpose of which is for me to select a topic I know little or nothing about, research it, producing a hopefully, well organised and understandable speech. I also need to craft clear and engaging transitions and cite resources. My topic this evening is a seasonal one, Resolutions. Where did the tradition come from, why do some of us choose to set them and what are the most popular resolutions. Are there alternatives, if you don’t like the idea of resolutions.
A New Year’s Resolution could be defined as “a tradition in which a person resolves to continue good practices, change an undesired trait or behaviour, to accomplish a personal goal, or otherwise improve their Life.”
“Good resolutions are simply cheques that men draw on a bank where they have no account.” – Oscar Wilde
The ancient Babylonians are meant to be the first people to make New Year’s Resolutions and celebrate the New Year over 4000 years ago, their New Year began in mid-March when the crops were planted and not in January. During their 12 day Festival, the Babylonians crowned a new King or reaffirmed their loyalty to the reigning King, they also made promises to the Gods to pay their debts and to return borrowed objects. These promises are considered the forerunners to our New Year’s Resolutions. If they kept their word, the Pagan Gods would bestow favour on them for the coming year, if not, they would fall out of favour with the Gods.
History.com referred to a similar practice in Ancient Rome, after Julius Caesar decided in around 46 B.C. that January 1st was the beginning of the New Year. January was named after the two-Faced God Janus whose spirit inhabited doorways and arches. January had a special significance for Romans, as they believed that Janus symbolically looked backwards into the previous year and ahead into the future, Romans offered sacrifices to the deity and made promises of good conduct for the coming year.
Early Christians treating the New Year as a traditional occasion for thinking about personal past mistakes and resolving to do better in the future.
“A New Year’s Resolution is something that goes in one year and out the other” – Anonymous
Hands up if you make resolutions for this year? Please leave your hands up if you normally succeed with your resolutions? Thank you, I will have some tips for increasing your chances of success later. Thanks to YouTube, learning to solve this Rubiks Cube was one of my successful 2019 Resolutions. I have countless failed Resolutions to my name, as well as some completed goals.
In 2014, a report found that 35% of participants who failed their New Year’s Resolutions admitted they had unrealistic goals, 33% of people hadn’t kept track of their progress, 23% had forgotten about then and around one in ten respondents claimed they had made to many resolutions. These included, the annual top New Year’s Resolutions of losing weight, exercising more, saving money and endeavouring to read more, according to a series of YouGov Surveys.
When you have decided what your Resolutions are, the experts suggest that to increase your success with your goals that you should write them down in a place that you can see them regularly. The advice is that your goals should satisfy the conditions of the acronym S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.
Specific – Your goals should be clear and not vague. If you want to lose weight, state how much you want to lose.
Measureable – Identify what changes you will see when you reach your goal. If your goal is run a marathon, then the measurable factor will be your running distance.
Attainable – The goals must be attainable, anything else is just a wish. It is good to shoot for the stars, but, it is easier to achieve if you break it up into smaller more achievable goals.
Relevant – Your resolutions need to be relevant to your life. You may wish to be bigger than Amazon in three months, but, if you don’t have billions of dollars, knowledge of the internet, computers, retail, have access to massive warehouses and countless staff, as well as a reputation in the field, amongst other things, your chances are low to achieve that target.
Time-Bound – Link your goals to a timeframe, having a realistic deadline creates a sense of urgency that makes you act. Again, breaking your resolutions into smaller more manageable goals is very useful.
Another tip to help you succeed is another acronym K.I.S.S., which stands for Keep It Simple Silly!
The advice is to Keep the number of goals low, so you can focus on working on a few areas rather than your entire life. Tackling one goal at a time is the most effective way to succeed. If break your goals up into one a day or week, you will slowly get through them all. Don’t complicate your objective. Complete your goals, tick off the quickest and easiest ones first, this will boost your commitment to complete your other goals. When you complete your goals, you are advised to reward yourself for your efforts.
There are alternatives to making Resolutions, if Resolutions do not appeal to you. One is to pick a word to guide you for the year and let that influence everything you do; the supporters of this approach suggest that it is easier to do and gives you clarity and focus. Some words you may want to use are discipline, simplify, Serenity, Joy, Fun, Excitement, you get the idea. Or you could take a life audit, this involves you grading yourself in all the areas of your life. Where can you improve your grade? You may wish to reboot an area of your life, or track and measure a particular thing, like time, food, spending, or weight. You might want to create a list of things you are looking forward to instead. There is also the 30 day challenge were you decide upon a small goal that can be achieved in 30 days, decluttering, cooking at home, cycling into work, been vegan, etc.
In conclusion, somebody once said “I don’t call them New Year’s Resolutions. I prefer the term, “Casual Promises to myself that I’m under no legal obligation to fulfil.”
Mr./Madam Toastmaster, Madam President, Fellow Toastmasters and very welcome guests thank you for listening to my presentation on the history of and the present day application of News Year’s Resolutions. Thank you.