New Beginnings!

January 2012


2012 is setting up to be another year of exciting things to look forward to.

If you are Islamic or Jewish, you celebrate the year 1433 or 5772 respectively, and welcome in a new year that is seen to be a transformative one. It is also the Chinese year of the Dragon, a mythical creature sybolising power. This fifth sign in the Chinese Horoscope also signifies luck and, accordingly, 2012 stands to be a year of prosperity, success and happiness. (So, a good year on the whole it would seem!)

For South Africa it is 16 years after the first democratic elections were held. The African National Congress celebrates its‘ 100th anniversary. And while it always a point of pride that the country has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, the government faces developmental challenges of poverty and unemployment and we wait with bated breath to see the outcome of the State Protection of Information Bill (more commonly known as the Secrecy Bill) debacle.

Internationally there are the London Olympics to look forward to; the first commitment of the Kyoto Protocol ends and it is likely that nature conservation and environmental matters will be earmarked as a priority for many authorities. We also look forward to seeing the how the outcomes of COP 17 will be rolled out by participating countries.


It is also the year that may provide the biggest anti-climax or absolute climax the world has ever known, with predictions of the end of the world around every corner. This kind of doomsday prediction is second only to the moment when the clock struck midnight on 31st December 1999 and the world did not, in fact, come to a complete digital and electronic standstill. Yes, 2012 is the year that some pundits have lauded as the year the world ends. On the 21st of December to be exact. Apparently that is the date when the Mayan calendar ends. It must be noted that no actual connection has been made between the end of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world. Would this be an apt time to mention that the Mayan’s disappeared a pretty long time ago and holding too much store in their predictions may not be the wisest thing to do?  Irrespctive of your beliefs on this matter, I do think that it is a good opportunity to garner action to set your affairs in order, take the risks you wouldn’t otherwise take and invest in some good goal setting, spread your wings and take the leap. Sometimes endings do not represent an actual end, rather it may be the end of something old that gives rise to something new. The end of a world as we know it, and the beginning of a new world- perhaps a healthier one? „Fines nova initia semper ferunt” is Latin for ‚endings always bring new beginnings‘ and what better way to prepare for new beginnings in YOUR life than goal setting?

New Beginnings

It’s the time for that ubiquitous practice that millions of people worldwide engage in: the compiling of New Year’s Resolutions. Over the last few years it would seem that the tide has turned on this popular tradition and more people have opted to steer clear of making any at all. Some say it is too cliched, too  ’overdone‘ or simply too difficult to keep to. Whatever your take on New Years‘ Resolution-making, it cannot be denied that it can be a powerful tool to implement change in your life.

The beginning of the year brings with it the opportunity to make a clean start. Symbolically it’s the end of the old and heralding in of the new. The opportunity to start afresh, begin again, or just have the opportunity to make those improvements you’d been putting off for a while, a figurative Spring Clean.

Here are some helpful techniques to use when setting goals:

Goal setting involves establishing goals that are S.M.A.R.T.:

S- specific

M- measurable

A- achievable

R- realistic and

T- time targeted

Being specific and making your goals measurable: Setting precise goals, putting in dates, times and amounts means you can measure achievement. You’ll know exactly when you have attained the goal, and there is great sense of fulfilment when crossing off an item on a to-do list!

Achievable goals: Keep short-term goals that you’re working towards small and achievable. If you set a goal that is too large, it can seem that you are not making progress towards it or that the goal is unachievable. In line with this it is also important to set goals over which you have as much control as possible. It can be quite discouraging to fail to achieve a personal goal for reasons out of your control!

Realistic goals – It’s important to set goals that you can achieve. However it is also important to set goals that are not necessarily easy to achieve. This means that you will appreciate the obstacles that achieving the goal may entail or the work needed in terms of skills-development, etc.

Time-targeted goals: diarize your goal so that you give yourself a deadline to work towards.

For more Goal Setting tips visit  

Researchers, Miller & Marlatt (1998), found that 75% of people do not accomplish their new year’s resolutions. This disheartening statistic can be allotted to people not considering resolutions until the last minute, reacting on New Year’s Eve and making resolutions based on what’s bothering them or is on their mind at that time, and structuring resolutions as absolutes by saying, “I will never do X again.”

They suggest:

- Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.

- Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up.

- Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.

To find out more about their research visit


I hope this helps you in making some important changes in your lives and in taking the steps to live the life you deserve!


Filed under Psychology

2 Responses to New Beginnings!

  1. Greetings! Vеry helpful advice within
    this article! It’s the little changes that produce the most important changes. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  2. 4. When you reach a goal, praise and reward yourself.
    I could even slightly remember reading something similar in a magazine once or twice.

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