In what seems like the blink of an eye, the year 2012 has come to a conclusion.
Now is the time, that we forget about the year that was and focus our attention on the year that will soon be.
It’s about this time every year that we put together a mental list of goals, projects, and aspirations in which we loosely call "resolutions".
We make our list of resolutions because we acknowledge that we have some room in our lives to grow (or in the case of dieting... to shrink). We want to become a better person. We want to become the person we know that we can be.
Res-o-lu-tion - (rez-uh-loo-shun) - noun
- Resolve or determination; to make a firm resolution to do something.
- The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method or procedure.
- The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
As defined by Webster’s, a resolution is a firm decision to do something ... an absolute... an action... a firmness of purpose.
A resolution is a promise or oath to one’s self... to your family, friends and neighbors... to co-workers, acquaintances, and associates... to God and the world...
The New Year helps us to mark time... it gives us a starting point... a fresh beginning.
New Year’s resolutions typically found on our list might include one or more of the following items:
- Lose weight
- Stop smoking
- Go to the gym more
- Eat better
- Read more
- Start a savings account
- Watch less TV
- Go back to school
- Get up / go to bed earlier
- Learn a new skill
- Be a better spouse / parent / student / worker / friend etc.
Why is that?
The answer is simple... because changing one’s behavior is hard work!!
Saying that you’re going to change your life is tremendously easier than actually doing it.
Once the hard work starts... we simply choose to cast aside our list of resolutions and continue with the same bad behavior that we have already acknowledged that we want to change.
We begin the year as a dedicated and resolved individual - determined to change our life forever...
... and within a time span measured in hours not days or weeks... we abandon our new ideals and principles and revert back to the person we sought to change.
So how do we stop this cycle of resolution of make and break and actually find ways to create and keep lasting resolutions?
Over the years, I have found several techniques that have helped me to make and keep my resolutions to myself.
I didn’t necessarily create these ideas nor am I offering any guarantees as to their effectiveness.
Also, I am not so naïve as to believe that these practices will work for everyone (or even a majority)... however... if perhaps what you are currently doing isn’t working for you... maybe the time is right to try something new...
I just know that these techniques tend to work for me...
First Things First
We need to make a list... not a mental list but a written list.
We need to write this list down... preferably in a place that is easy to refer back to from time to time (a notepad on your smart phone is a good place... especially if it’s backed up on your desktop or on the cloud).
Our list should contain BEHAVIORS we are determined to change in OURSELVES...
We can’t change physical things or situations... we can only change behaviors that might lead to change.
We can’t readily change our weight... we can only change, what we eat, how much we eat, and how much we work out. Weight loss/gain is a result... not a behavior.
Additionally, we cannot modify anyone else’s behavior. We cannot let our happiness / unhappiness be predicated on someone else’s behavior.
Creating our list will definitely take some self-awareness to recognize our deficiencies, weaknesses and areas of improvement.
Our list should be a living document that can be added to, as necessary, throughout the year as we think of new and/or improved behaviors that we’d like to incorporate into our lives.
Too many balls in the air
I tend to work well under some pressure, juggling several balls at the same time... trying as I might to accomplish as much as possible in a given time.
However, when the tasks on my to-do list are too numerous, I start dropping balls and the equilibrium of my life spins wildly out of control.
Trying to do too many things at the same time makes it impossible to focus on anything at all.
Likewise, if our resolution list has grown too long, then we need to start prioritizing and focusing on one or two items that will make the biggest impact in our lives.
Perhaps we need to abandon the idea of doing too much on Jan 1st each year, but instead think of staggering our goals throughout the year, starting a new one every 3-6 months.
Talk to any recovering alcoholic, and they will tell you in very specific terms, how long it’s been since they’ve last had a drink. To them, they measure sobriety in hours, days and/or years.
As we attempt to modify our lives, we need to keep an accurate measure of how we’re doing.
The measurement tool should be simple to use such as a small notebook (once again... I use a simple app on my iPhone to track certain behaviors).
It’s not important that you share your measurement with anyone else (but you will... especially if you’re making progress toward your goals).
Be accurate and don’t cheat (you’re only cheating yourself as no one else will ever see your log).
While it is true that resolutions can make us a better person... the idea only works if we dedicate ourselves to actually doing them.
It takes self-awareness... it takes discipline... it takes focus... it takes time... and it takes a willingness to want to change.
Are you up for the challenges that lie ahead?
Thank you for your support of OptiFuse as we wish you and yours happiness, health, joy, prosperity and peace in the New Year ahead...