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No More Resolutions, Please

Success Is Not In The Making Of Resolutions, It's Being Resolute!

All my life I have been hearing about people making New Year’s resolutions. At the risk of sounding negative, I don’t believe they actually help most people change. I think the way the whole tradition is set up lays the groundwork for failure. It uses the excitement and the promise of a new year, to convince us that this time will be different. Our minds are excited and so we feel motivated. Which is a nice concept but not practical in relation to how people really change.  Just ask any gym salesperson about the success rate of January memberships or people who have had their last cigarette or sugar intake on December 31st.

 Not many people are self disciplined enough to begin a change in their life and keep it going indefinitely, or at least for the New Year ahead. The way our brains are wired it takes more than sheer grit to make lasting changes. To explain this better, think of all the times you said to yourself, “on Monday I am going on a diet”, while enjoying a piece of chocolate cake or a second helping of Lasagna (insert your favorite food). Our brains, not knowing if we are actually going to do it or not, will make us feel less guilty momentarily and feel a pleasure about our new goal. This is how resolutions work. You feel good about them in the moment and are motivated by that excitement to begin the change. But they hold no substance for us to be successful in the change process.

Unfortunately, for most people, their commitment to that goal will only last as long as their excitement does. Once that’s gone so is the resolution; at least until next year when this craziness begins again.

If you are really serious about making a change, may I suggest a few things to give you a better posture for success than a New Year’s resolution? 

  • Take a little time away from your daily responsibilities. 

  • Write down the goal you want to achieve or the change you want to make. 

  • Then write down the smaller steps you can take to reach that goal. 

  • Put a support system in place, for accountability.

  • Once these are in place, you begin the next day and the next and the next, with intention.

Quiet your mind, pray and listen for what needs you need. Personal pruning is very healthy. Be specific and realistic about your goals. Then take small, consistent, baby steps to reach them. I believe we all need a tribe so to speak, a support system (Life Coach, friend, family member, therapist). An accountability person will keep you on track; especially when you want to abandon the plan. Your support team (tribe) can rally around you as cheerleaders and keep going. Change only happens when we are intentional or we will default to our old habit. Our aim is to make a new roadmap in our command center (our brain) but it takes a conscious awareness.

The last and most important piece here is to take it one day at a time. Thinking you have to keep this up for a whole year, 6 or even 3 months can be a tall order. I suggest you renew your intention daily. Accept that there will be some set backs but get right back to the plan. It’s only a fail when you don’t get back to it.

Day after day, after day, after day, practice what you have written down. The change doesn’t happen from anything else but the consistency of showing up to your goal no matter how long it takes. After a while it will just become a part of you. Success is not in making the Resolution; it’s in being resolute!!!

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