The Promises We Make…To Ourselves

| January 7, 2011 | Comments (0)

If kept, New Year’s resolutions offer an opportunity to better our lives.

Every January, millions of people take the New Year as an opportunity to make changes in their life.  I look at New Year’s resolutions as promises we make to ourselves to better ourselves in the new year. These promises can often span many different areas of your life and vary from person to person.  Although they can touch on different goals and aspects of a person’s life, resolutions are unified by the simple theme of becoming a better person and improving our life.

Resolutions vary from person to person, but there are several changes that are certain to be desired by many people.  You can be sure the top resolutions for 2011 will not be much different than those in 2010, 2009 or even 1999 for that matter.

Losing weight, eating better, stopping smoking, getting organized – these same resolutions are repeated year after year.  And every year, the same people fail to meet these promises to themselves.

The question is why?

My theory is that while it is normally easy to recognize areas of your life you desire to change – it’s hard to actually take the time to develop a real plan to achieve this desired change.  It is even harder to enact your plan and commit to real change.

It’s simple to say, “This year, I want to lose weight.”  It’s not as common to say, “This year, I will lose weight by doing X.”  To fulfil promises we make to ourselves, we must create a detailed path to follow.  Consider the following advice when making and enacting your changes for 2011:

1.    Recognize your need. Before you can move forward with your new resolution, you must decide what it is that you would like to change.

2.    Set goals. This is where it gets tough.  It is important to set up specific, attainable goals that are spread out over the course of the year.  Do it in a way that allows you to divide and conquer over the course of the year.

3.    Enact change. Now that you have smaller, shorter term goals ready to be met, it is time to make the changes needed to meet them.  Make no mistake about it, this is the hardest step.  It has all been talk to this point.  This step will often include major changes in behavior and lifestyle, but hopefully you have goals created in a way that will allow for a gradual acclimation to your lifestyle change.

4.    Accountability is key. Do whatever it takes to hold yourself accountable.  Tell loved ones of your resolution and goals so they can assist you in your journey.  Having another person there to hold you to your promise is a proven way to stick to your new lifestyle.

Another tool for accountability is to keep a journal or log of your progress.  This will help you to visualize and keep track of where you are in relation to your goals.  Also, do not forget to reward yourself when a goal is met.  You’ve earned it!

While resolutions are obviously not mandatory and there are many people that choose not to make them, I find them to be a great chance to reflect on our lives and an opportunity to alter our lifestyles in a positive manner.   Hopefully this advice will be of use to you throughout  the New Year.

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Category: Personal Musings

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