I see the New Year as an opportunity to take on a new challenge or make a new commitment to myself and my life. Making New Year’s resolutions supports my desire to design a life that I love. Like most of us, I have difficulty keeping my resolve. Why? Creating a resolution is about developing a new habit and reforming an old one. New habits CAN BE hard to form; and old habits CAN BE hard to break. But both are possible. To make them possible, I’ve found these 4 steps to be essential.
1. Recognize the power in your words. Your resolutions are your word. And your word is your power. What you say means something. What you say is powerful. Being true to yourself is about being true to your word. When you say that you are going to lose 15 pounds, the power is not in losing 15 pounds – that is the discipline – the power is in the words you spoke when you declared that you will shed the pounds. Acknowledging the power of your word, you will move powerfully toward achieving your resolution.
2. Evaluate your relationship with your resolution. Take responsibility for your old habits. And acknowledge the effort and benefit of keeping the new habit. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds by May 2012, then you might acknowledge, for example, “I gained 15 pounds last year because I allowed myself to become sedentary. With this extra weight and sedentarily lifestyle, I noticed that was not energetic and lively. In order to lose the 15 pounds, I commit to doing cardio 3 hours a week and weight training for 1 hour a week. The benefit of working out and losing weight is that I will be full of energy and liveliness.” Seeing your responsibility to the cause, resolution and benefit will make it easier to keep the resolution.
3. Keep the resolution in front of you. Write down your resolution, and post it in places where you will see it many times a day. Back to the 15-pound weight loss goal, you might record, “I will lose 15 pounds” on your screen saver. Record a note to post on the refrigerator “Cardio – 3 hours a week. Weight training – 1 hour a week.” The first appointment on your calendar every day is “Losing weight will allow me to be full of energy and aliveness.” Schedule the cardio and the weight training times on your calendar for the entire year. Keep the declaration alive by seeing it in front of you every day.
4. Share your resolution with people who can support you. You have friends, family and colleagues who want to see you succeed at your goals. Share with them your goals and ask them to be your accountability partner in the journey. Let’s assume you ask your friend Lisa to be your accountability partner, the conversation might go like this: “Lisa, I know that you care about me and you only want the best for me. One of the best things that I can do for myself is to lose weight. So, I’ve set a resolution to lose 15 pounds by May. In order to do this, I am committing to 3 hours of cardio and 1 hour of weight training each week. I am committed to this goal, but I might need a nudge from time to time to stay on course. Would you be willing to check in with me weekly to make sure that I am keeping up with my exercise routine?” Lisa’s support will be just the nudge you need when the old habit fights back.
The best thing about these steps is that they are manageable. So, honor your resolutions. Keeping your resolution is one way that you are designing a life that you love and being the best you. You deserve the life that you want. Happy New Year’s Resolution to You!