Now that the holiday haze has worn off and we have jumped into the reality of a new year, let’s break down this whole resolution thing. For better or for worse, people really do love the concept of resolutions … it’s the practicality of making them happen that frustrates and sometimes discourages. So I’m here to share a somewhat different (and hopefully fresh!) approach that may help you to make 2013 the year of the successful resolution!
To begin, let’s really look at WHY we make resolutions. Basically, we want to become a better version of ourselves. We either want to give something up that is not adding to our life anymore (smoking, extra weight, too much volunteer work) or we want to add something that will improve the quality of our life (a fitness regimen, staying in touch with friends, time for ourselves). Whichever side of the coin you are on, your ultimate goal is to become a better version of who you are today. Great! How do we do that? Easy … Grow! The only way to change is through growth, right? How do we grow? By taking action and doing something. Remember, there is magic in movement. So it’s really the process – the actions we take which result in personal growth – that make us a better version of ourselves, not necessarily the outcome. We’ve made the damaging mistake of defining the success of our resolutions by the outcome rather than by the process.
Let’s say your resolution is to LOSE 10 POUNDS. Why would you do this? Say it with me … “To become a better version of who I am today”. Okay – so what do you do to lose the weight? Join a gym – start working out – do a master cleanse – join a running group – eat healthier – wear a sweat suit 24/7 so that your body is constantly shedding water weight – cook more, take-out less …. many, many choices. What are the byproducts of doing these things (well, except the master cleanse…)? You meet new people at the gym, you learn what type of exercise you like and don’t like, you learn what produces results for your body, you have an instant support group in your running friends, you are more aware of the foods that you put into your body, you have awesome self-confidence to walk around in public in a sweat suit, you spend more time cooking/eating at home with your family. And what happens if at the end of the process you only lose 8 pounds? Are you not a better version of who you were even though you didn’t lose those last 2 pounds? Look at all you gained in the PROCESS even if your outcome wasn’t what you had hoped for.
So now that we’re clear that it’s the process that matters more than the outcome in determining the success of our resolutions, how can we make this process more doable so that we actually stick with it? Here are a couple ideas – use the one that resonates with you…
- Be realistic. I think that when most people declare their resolutions on January 1st they still have a blood alcohol level of .08% thanks to the accumulation of holiday cheer. They will make grand and hard to achieve resolutions because, by God they are going to take 2013 by the horns and show it who’s boss. This is essentially a beer-goggle resolution … it seems beautiful and just right for you at the time, but wait a few days and not so much. Really think about what you want to accomplish. Sit with it a few days and refine it as necessary – then declare it as yours.
- Set your goals month by month. It’s much easier to stay motivated for 30 days (give or take) than it is for 365. Set a goal at the beginning of each month and focus on that one thing. Do the same thing the next month, and so on. You just might find that at the end of 12 months you accomplished more than you would have if you had set one goal for the whole year.
- Have a theme for the year. Pick a phrase, a saying, a quote – something that will be your compass for the year and keep it in front of you every day. Have it as your screen saver, use post-it notes in your bathroom, put it on the fridge. Be so bold as to tell your close friends about it so they can remind you to be true to yourself and your goal. As you are making decisions through the year, ask yourself what action you can take that will keep you living consistently with your motto. For example, my personal theme for 2013 is " Life begins at the end of your comfort zone"
I know 2013 will be an awesome and amazing year for you if you focus on the PROCESS rather than the outcome … cheers to you all!