Resolutions are typically a half-baked idea at its best and a wish at its worst. We throw out an idea of something we want. The most common new year’s resolution is about weight loss. This comes from the season of overindulgence many Americans experience from Thanksgiving to the end of the year. The bloating and tight clothing has many filled with regrets over their decisions for the last several weeks.
But is it even worth making a new year resolution? What kind of resolution should we make? Can I really make a lasting life change?
These are great questions and often the place people stop, determining that new year resolutions will never work. But, if you are looking to start a life change in the feeling of a clean slate that comes with the new year, I recommend defining your WHY first. When you are challenged throughout the year with temptation, time, distractions, or pushing through a tough milestone the best tool you will be your WHY.
Your reason for wanting to change must be deep to be successful. I have found that changing for someone else, often fails. Depending on an event like a reunion, wedding, or gathering often supports short-term change. Long-term, sustainable change must come from a place deep within us.
How will your day-to-day life be better once you have made this change?
How will the relationships in your life be better once you have made this change?
How will your financial security be better once you have made this change?
How will you be able to better help those around your – family, friends, community?
Once you know why you want to change and have explored how this can create a better you, you can create a vision of a different life. Start to think about what could be different for you. Focus on what could be better.
Why will this change be important in 1 year?
Why will this change be important in 5 years?
Who could you become after you have made this change?
This type of change can feel like a journey. And in a sense, it is. You are traveling down a road with a bit of uncertainty. This can allow doubt to creep in. However, if we identify a few milestones, we will have pre-planned points that let us know we are on the right track. Meeting these milestones can shut down the thoughts of doubt by focusing the mind on success.
Where do you need to be or what do you need to be doing in September that will lead to completing this change in December 2023?
Where do you need to be or what do you need to be doing in June that will lead to completing this change in December 2023?
Where do you need to be or what do you need to be doing in March that will lead to completing this change in December 2023?
While I encourage milestones to be outline on a timeline, goals are different. Goals allow us to create moments of accomplishment that can be celebrated. These should be specific and measurable. Keep these goals visible. It is important to keep the recorded successes visible as you work toward the next goal.
What do the signs of success look like?
What can you measure to show you are changing?
How will you know you are making the improvements you are working toward?
What will you do to celebrate the success of achieving one of these goals?
Now that we have our vision, our milestone, and a few goals we need to convert all of this to action. Without action, this is just a plan. It is still a hope or a wish. Without addressing the HOW we cannot make progress. After working through this section, I encourage you to put time in your calendar right away.
What activity do you need to do each day?
What activity do you need to do each week?
When will you do these activities?
What current activities will have to move or shift to make room for your change?
What roadblocks may come up to keep you from completing your needed activities?
How can you address each roadblock, so you do not get derailed?
We live in a world of instant gratification. We want to see immediate progress. Making long-term change does not work this way. We can also be unforgiving with ourselves. If we make a mistake or deviate from our plan in the slightest, we give up on the whole thing. Rather than giving into these defeatist mentalities I would encourage you to be patient with yourself. Change is going to take time. You are going to make a mistake. Be patient and kind to yourself. Allow your plan to have the time needed to work. Give yourself grace when you falter. If you go off your plan, simply guide your mind back to the WHY. Look at the progress you have made in your milestones and the goals you have achieved. Move forward with patience.
The new year gives us a feeling of a fresh start. It is cathartic to think we could shed the bad decisions, unfortunately circumstances, or sorrow in the previous year. There is hope in taking the good memories from the previous year to become who we wished we were. It is a natural part of the human experience to strive to be more.
We are meant to grow and develop. Evolution of our mind, spirit, and body is part of the human experience. Whether you are inspired to change with the dawning of a new year or a major life event this path can lead you to long-term changes.