The HR Juggler

Day 39: Breakthrough

Posted on: January 8, 2013


Today’s post is written by Patrick Mullarkey, better known to many as @MentorMullarkey on Twitter and a fabulously nice bloke and excellent and insightful blogger. His take on the reflections and resolutions theme is below.


From a young age I had always been a little hesitant about New Year’s resolutions but find the older I get the more comfortable I am with them, and am definitely optimistic looking forward to 2013.

My previous reluctance was partly down to never seeming to be able to stick to any resolution during my ‘youth’. I would be buzzing with good intentions at the start of the year but, as winter turned in to spring, would find that my motivation seemed to melt away.

In part I think this is due to how the resolutions come about – it was the time of year that was prompting them, rather than some sort of ongoing process of reflection and development. At the same time, I found that looking back over the year tended to have two effects on me:

1)      I got nostalgic thinking back to positive memories of what had occurred (which tended to be social ones. In a pub. Slightly frazzled.)

2)      I would be despondent at what I had failed to achieve during the year that once seemed so important

This second feeling really dogged me to the point of despair from my early to mid-twenties, when I felt as though I was not making the sort of career progress I had envisioned for myself in my post higher education euphoria. Looking back at the person I was it was little wonder, as my approach was more of an attitude of ‘Hey world, I’ve got a degree from a flash university – surely you owe me a living rather than the other way round?!’ Needless to say this did not prove productive to my career aspirations or New Year resolutions moving forward.

However, as I have got older I have found myself reflecting a lot more throughout the year rather than in one block at the end of it. The initial spark for this was that I took so many knocks from “The World” that I eventually hit rock bottom and realised that I was the one common denominator in all of the hard luck stories. 

But what initially seemed like a breakdown period in my life actually turned out to be the breakthrough.

For all that I thought that was good about my skills or expertise, I realised I had to accept some responsibility for the fact that things were not going as well in my life as I had hoped. As hard as some of those lessons were to accept (not to mention also very public at points), they were necessary and invaluable in making me realise that in order to fix what went wrong or build what was in place I had take my fair share of responsibility.

Suddenly, by accepting my role in being both partly the cause and solution of these problems, I found that I had the motivation and momentum to achieve my aims – including those pesky December time resolutions. In fact, the time of year almost became coincidental – it was just another month, in another year, when I was looking back to see how I was going to move further forward.

I suppose the point I am trying to make is to not to get hung up on coming up with resolutions for the sake of it, or because reflecting at this time of year seems like the done thing to do – I did for years and found it torture. Once I started thinking more about what I needed or could do about my circumstances on a more regular basis, the easier everything else became to handle.

So there you have it, how I fought my fear of New Year’s resolutions – a combination of getting old and making loads of mistakes!

Embarrassing? Yes.

At times difficult and frustrating? Absolutely.

But then again, aren’t all forms of learning like this to one degree of another? The real problem comes when you don’t reflect on what occurred – I am resolute in my resolution to do so in 2013.

1 Response to "Day 39: Breakthrough"

Reblogged this on mentoring Mullarkey and commented:
The amazing Alison Chisnell has been hosting blogs all through advent and in to the new year, with new topics daily from HR and L&D bloggers at her HR Juggler blog.

Do yourself a favour and sign up for her updates – they are always insightful and thought provoking, from both the professional and personal perspective. In the meantime check out my contribution to the ‘calender’ with my take on reflections and resolutions – hope you enjoy! P.

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