“Let’s hold things lightly.” “Take the pressure off.” “What can you experiment with?”

I often find myself saying these things to clients as it can be hard to find the time or energy to try new things to create change. The ‘Try before you buy’ behaviour change principle is a powerful, yet easy, lever for change. What this means is, it can be helpful to trial or test something new first without the pressure of committing to it long term, or the worry of it being the right choice.

So if new year’s resolutions seem passé and you’ve grown tired of them fizzling out and not working, how about reframing the start of a fresh, new year as an opportunity for some experiments?

Here’s how to set up your experiments


Step 1: Identify the thing

Go on a walk (or run) in a green space on your own or with a dog, just not with a person to talk to or with headphones in. Frame the question to yourself “What one thing do I really want to be different in 2024?”. Then let your mind wander, don’t overthink it, let yourself be inspired by what you see, hear, sense and smell around you. See if you can come up with one thing without forcing it.

Step 2: Find an object

Once you have your one thing you want to be different, find an object to represent it that you can either photograph or carry/ put in your pocket (if you’re still out), or something that you have around your house/ office.

Step 3: Create meaning

When you’re back inside with your object, write down what it represents for you. Make meaning of it by answering the question of ‘What’s important to me about this thing?’ Then display the object somewhere you will see it regularly.

Step 4: Explore experiments

Once you’re clear on your thing and why it’s important, and you can see it in the form of an object (or image), ask yourself what you can experiment with to get more or be more of the thing you want. This is a ‘What now’ question. Explore actions you can take and frame them as ‘experiments’ you can hold lightly. They don’t need to be big actions. Some could be small steps. And it might just be the first step that you need to identify to start.

Step 5: Share your experiments

You may want to share your experiments with your partner, a colleague, friend or family member. Talking things through can really help to sense-check or elevate our ideas, and it adds an element of accountability for our experiments if you find that a helpful motivator.

Step 6: Start, reflect and learn as you go

Get started with your actions/ experiments, making sure you reflect and learn as you go to see what works or doesn’t in creating the change you want. Regularly come back to your object as a visual reminder of why you are doing it. Remember you can tweak your experiment or launch new ones to keep moving forward!

I hope this is helpful. The methodology is based on a reflective tool in coaching of ‘What? So what? Now what?’ which you can do by writing in a notebook or talking it through with someone. I’ve included walking outside to help generate ideas and well as a creative mechanic to anchor the idea in something physical like an object or an image which serves as a visual reminder.

Let me know how you get on!

This article was written by  Georgina Gray one of our partner coaches who supports women who walk with working mums, literally (on coaching walks in nature) and metaphorically, offering creativity, compassion and challenge to help you lead a more authentic, intentional and values-aligned business/ life. You can get in touch via her profile page.