• Michelle Johnson

2020 vision: sharing my new year's resolutions

In recent years, it's becoming more and more fashionable not to bother with New Year's Resolutions. This is, in part, because only a paltry 8% – yes, that's eight. per. cent. – of people actually manage to achieve the goals they set on 1 January. But for many of us, New Year is still a perfect time to reflect on your achievements and struggles and look to the next stage of your life and, for me, having a couple of resolutions is a big part of that. So how do we achieve them?

According to many life coaches and gurus, the only way to make an achievable goal is by making it SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely. So, for example, one of the most common New Year's Resolutions is to "lose weight" – a vague notion that's as good as insurmountable. Instead, this should be phrased as "reach a goal weight of X by losing this much per week in this specific way".

But, for some goals this is more difficult. I was interested to discover that, unsurprisingly, the most common New Year's Resolutions are based on self-improvement – the top three are exercise more, lose weight and get organised. Also in the top five is "live life to the fullest" which is, frankly, impossible to achieve.

The Pocket Mindfulness blog suggests that setting these goals are reductive because they put in an "I must" mentality – and having to do something is never fun. This is why I try and set a handful of goals from the small to the ridiculous, covering any aspect of my life at home and work. The only rule is that they have to feel positive – not things I must do, but things I'd like to do. This included, as it does every year, write my novel – I've haven't managed it yet!

In 2019, one of my most ridiculous goals included to meet an AI or robot in the 'flesh'. I didn't think for a moment that I'd be able to do it, but giving myself the goal meant I set about creating opportunities – following the news about a subject I'm already interested in and so expanding my knowledge, emailing various companies working within artificial intelligence and making some cool journalism contact, and getting a little more confident and creative with my pitching – and, eventually, got to meet Ai-Da for a Tempus cover feature.

So, this year, my goals are following the same lines, from the simple to the ambitious, and will hopefully help guide a positive approach to the year ahead:

  1. Stay in my jeans! With added responsibility and lots to do, I've been a little overzealous with the 'networking' this holiday season. So rather than pressure myself to lose weight, my goal is just to make sure I'm still fitting comfortably in my existing jeans come February.

  2. Write the bloody book! In August I went on a writing holiday to Lithuania and Latvia, and had the most incredible break. I fell back in love with my novel idea, and started to really make progress. But, once back in my normal routine, I have really struggled to keep that momentum up. My resolution is to try and create more space in my life to fall in love with it again, and maybe, finally, finish it!

  3. Enter awards! I am so proud of all we've achieved in the last year with Vantage Media and Tempus, and would love to start building up that acknowledge within our industry. I've resolved to try and enter a few awards this year, not just to get us into the space room as our wonderful peers, but also to give our team a few internal goalposts to aim for – and up our game as we do.

  4. Do more with the NCTJ! I'm very proud to have become an industry advisor for PA Training in 2019, and so this year once of my goals is to do more for young journalists, whether that's through assisting with the NCTJ or by individual mentoring.