Welcome to 2018 and boy, did that one come around quick. I wonder if it is just me or do other people think the years seem to pass by faster with each year. However quickly they pass it is a sure sign that you are leading a busy life if the festive period and the new year arrive and you are thinking ‘we only just started the year’. With the approach of the new year also comes the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions, where we make bold statements of our plans and intentions for what we want to change in the coming year. The most common being losing weight, exercising more, get a better job/career, improve our finances, quit smoking, eat healthy, improve a relationship, stop procrastinating, have more time for yourself, manage stress or do more for charity.

The tradition of making New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to Babylonian times where it was common for farmers to make a promise to their gods to pay all their debts and return borrowed equipment at the beginning of each year. The Romans made promises to the god Janus, the god of gateways and beginnings, for whom the month of January is named and Christians would prepare for the year ahead by making resolutions and praying. In Judaism, the practice of reflecting on one’s wrongdoings over the year and seeking or offering forgiveness would be held over the year-end holidays culminating in Yom Kippur which is the tenth day of the seventh month (September).

There are numerous New Year traditions all over the world that represent some sort of resolution for the year ahead. In Spain, the tradition is to eat 12 grapes on the striking of the clock at midnight on the last day of the year and those grapes, if eaten one by one with each strike of the clock, will mean a year of good luck and prosperity. If you are looking for love you wear red underwear for the changing of the year and if looking for good fortune you wear yellow in Spain. In Mexico, the tradition is to sweep your house from the inside out on the first day of the year which will clear away all impurities and has similarity to the saying of ‘out with the old and in with the new’.

In the UK, our traditions are to start the new year with a kiss which is believed to set the tone for the rest of the year to come or if with a loved one, will strengthen the relationship. Singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ when the clock strikes midnight is considered to be a song of reunion and reconciliation, encouraging us to reflect on times past and move forward together (my personal favourite). In Scotland, we have our tradition of ‘First-Footing’ which is the belief that the first person to enter the house on New Year’s Day will bring good luck for the coming year. This person is supposed to bring gifts of a coin for prosperity, coal for warmth, salt for flavour, bread for food and drink for cheer and led to the custom of wandering around your local neighbourhood in the middle of the night knocking on neighbour’s doors and bringing a ‘wee dram’ with you as well as a piece of coal and usually shortbread. Growing up on a farm, my mother traditionally made a huge pot of soup for the visitors and the first-footing sometimes went on for two or three days!

It is hardly surprising that after all the merriment of the festive period and bringing in the new year we are driven to consider where we are and where we are going, along with resolving any issues causing us distress. Who hasn’t been forced to make a personal resolution never to drink again after a big night of celebration and not just at New Year. A January detox is often the first resolution for those who like to party over the holiday period.

Making New Year’s resolutions are a great way for you to do an annual life audit. Looking back at the year passed is a way of considering everything you have achieved and what you missed out on, how far you have come and how you would like your life to move forward. It is also a way to identify what you need to resolve in life that is holding you back or causing you difficulties. We all want to be happier in our lives and often consider what is our purpose in life as we deal with the daily grind. By taking time to think about the year gone by you can take stock of your life in order to make decisions on what you need to do to achieve your goals. Our resolutions are very personal to us and can range from a simple change such as going to the gym more often to a complicated desire to make extreme changes in your life.

If you are the kind of person who likes to make New Year’s resolutions, how do you make them so you can actually achieve them? More often than not, we fail to realise them because we make them too difficult, too vague, too unrealistic or think that they will be achieved all in one go. We have a tendency to be hard on ourselves either through our expectations being too high or the feelings of failure when we miss the goal. They are all about change so we must understand that change happens over time, with effort and sometimes will take a few attempts or even a lot of attempts to get right so go easy on yourself.

Resolutions must be action based, something you do to make the changes. You have no control over another person’s actions or reactions, an organisation or an entity so they can only refer to your own behaviours. Resolving to get along better with a fellow crew member or improve your job requires input from others and would require collaboration which makes them no longer personal to you. Resolving to react less to criticism by not reacting only requires change by you. Look for ways to improve communication in the workplace by writing down notes and ideas then making proposals does not guarantee change but does mean change for you the individual.

Resolutions should be realistic and specific. Losing weight is achievable but too vague. Losing 20 kilos may be your ultimate aim but will seem like an unachievable goal and very quickly you can become disillusioned if you don’t reach your target. Lose 1 kilo a month for the next year is something that seems more attainable AND sustainable. You are hopefully aiming at something you wish to maintain for your future indefinitely therefore you have to be able to maintain what you are aiming for.

Relationship resolutions that involve another person such as find a partner, get married, have children are risky in that they are too specific. Here you are looking for ways in which to attract someone so developing habits that make you more open to relationships or activities that introduce you to others are more appropriate. I will join two new clubs this year to meet new people or I will join a dating agency and accept at least one new date a month.

Financial resolutions must be considered carefully. Earn more money is an easy resolution to make but very hard to achieve without a plan. Increase my earning potential by adding two new skills through training or education is however, an achievable resolution as you have set a specific amount to be done (two new skills) and have identified how you are going to do it (by training or education). Now all you have to do is choose the skills and actually get on with it.

I am someone who regularly makes AND breaks resolutions. I am a list maker so I have a journal that I write these down in and often refer to it through the year to see how I am progressing. It is a way I audit my life by looking at the resolutions I have made over the years to see what I did manage to change, what no longer important and what I have learned to accept as being just the way things are. I have also found that over the years I make less and less resolutions but I still go through the process of assessing the year past.

2018 resolutions for VIP Service School are to continue with the development of more training courses for interior crew, develop more relationships with other organisations here in Palma to enhance the school’s presence, provide more free workshops and mentoring for new crew as well as reduce our reliance on plastic as much as possible. With that in mind VIP Service School wishes you all a prosperous, healthy and plastic free 2018.