Here’s the mwah. Guide to New Year’s Resolutions.

How it started

Yesterday, on the train, I observed one of the most excruciating conversations you hear a lot at this time of year – The Resolution Conversation!

A small group of people, clearly work colleagues, sharing stories of their Christmas Party, and end of year plans.

All polite and pleasant. Even a few laughs about some highly questionable office secret Santa gifts.

Then the inevitable happens. One member of the group openly shares their New Year’s Resolutions.

Now, there were nothing particularly remarkable about the resolutions (the usual get fit, thin, smart and rich narrative).

What was more painful was the reaction from the group.

The polite facades were still in place, but for anyone with even a single spec of EQ, the sense of disinterest, boredom and in one case, even disdain, was palpable.

The story teller barrelled on with their plans to become a pro athlete/model/Rhodes Scholar/rich list entrant in 2019 (all while keeping down their day job, being a kick-arse parent, amazing friend and supporter of the community), while the group became more and more quiet, and one by one reached for their phones to attend to ‘important tasks’.

I shared this story with the team at mwah. the following day. Everyone had a story.

  • The boss who showed his direct report his ‘before’ body photo to help hold him ‘accountable’ for dropping the 15kg needed for him to ‘get ripped’.
  • A colleague whose resolution was to run a marathon, and spent all of January talking to everyone they could about the training program, sharing their daily run stats and providing their newly acquired, and ‘helpful’ meal advice to others – only to suddenly go very quiet in March, with the marathon to be never mentioned again.
  • The client (from many jobs gone by) who wanted to add spice to their long term marriage, and then detailed the plan to do this (yes, I was at the receiving end of this plan back in… and it certainly was detailed).
  • A colleague who had a detailed plan to take out the boss, and rise to victory as the successor.
  • One colleague who gave up bought coffees to save for a house deposit, only to spend the next year lovingly gazing at perfectly poured lattes while choking down the office Blend 43.

We don’t want to sound cynical. Or unkind.

We understand why as humans, we want to share our resolutions. It helps us be accountable. It up’s the stakes. It open us up to receive support.  These are all admirable, and sound reasons for sharing resolutions.

The trick is sharing the right resolutions with the right people.

So, we have given this some thought and have come up with our simple mwah. guide to New Year’s Resolutions at work – what to share and what to keep under your hat.

Let start simple – the resolutions you should save for your partner/friends or Mum

  • Any of the fit/skinny/smart/rich narratives. If your resolution is solely focused on you, becoming a better version of yourself, for you – this is one to save for your nearest and dearest.
  • The resolution about finding a job you love and leaving behind the ‘meatheads at this rotten workplace’.
  • The one about chucking it all in, to travel the world and start a yoga retreat in the Himalayas.
  • The one about reading the entire pile of self-help books by your bed (a la Bridget Jones), particularly the ones about dealing with difficult colleagues.
  • Being kinder to those same ‘difficult colleagues’ to try (and selflessly) help them become to better people
  • Getting your documents and life admin in order (this one may even be too dull for family and close friends, so maybe it’s a little private deal you make with yourself). 

The ‘safe for work’ resolutions

  • Resolutions designed to serve/positively impact other. If your resolution is about being better for those around you at work, this can be a very positive share.
A friendly tip – be mindful of positioning these good intentions as a ‘new year resolutions’ – as this can create a sense of cynicism, or ‘initiative de jour’, as opposed to collective good intent.
  • Collective resolutions. These may be things you want to lift or do better at as a whole team. The trick is collective resolutions are best not designed and decided individually, rather – the whole team needs to contribute to and own these. But if you get this bit right, collective resolutions can be a positive share at work.
  • Resolutions where you need a bit of support. Faced with a health crisis, you might need that colleague who bakes up a chocolate storm every week, to ease back on forcing everyone to ‘take two to finish the plate’
  • Resolutions that create fun in the team. Judge the team’s sense of adventure, athleticism and rhythm but encouraging everyone to Tough Mudder, or a shared Rumba class, might be exactly what’s needed to get everyone humming. Raising some money while you’re all walking the City to Surf, might also be lots of fun.

General rule for the collective share – Be interesting. Be relevant.

So that’s the mwah. guide to New Year’s Resolutions.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and joyful holiday break and entry in 2019! We look forward to continuing conversations with you all (even if you are not fitter, skinnier, smarter or richer) next year!