Welcome to the New Year. A clean slate. A fresh page. An opportunity to try something new and make some changes. But you certainly don’t want to do that without a plan! A bigger part of the plan is forgetting the list of empty promises and do some serious self-exploration instead.
Creating resolutions helps brings us to a place of reflection – that encourages us to consider our choices which is a good thing. The downside of reviewing what you’d like to change, can easily cause us to fall into a self-hating cycle that ends up setting you back before you’ve even begun.
Unfortunately, when it comes to resolutions, the inner critic is usually the first on the scene and in many cases ends up running the show – generally with poor results. The key to good resolutions is getting the constructive parts of your personality that would suggest you aren’t doing this because there is something wrong with you, but because there is so much possibility.
Here are a few tips to make the most of making the changes your heart desires:
Stay the course. If you get off course with a resolution, sit down and look closely at how you’ve gotten off track. Ask yourself: “How is it I ended up not doing this?” You are likely doing it the same way every time. Maybe you get too busy or tired. Or you get distracted. Maybe you decide you have nothing to wear or don’t like the way you look in workout clothes. You get on track with your plan for a while but then lose interest, or you fall into some other behavior. Figure out your self-sabotaging pattern and you will have a much better shot at shifting things to get the results you’re after.
Change equals risk. Lasting success starts by taking small steps. As a high diver, you don’t go out your first day and jump off a 100-foot diving board. You stretch your abilities with small preparations. So instead of biting off a big chunk, give yourself something realistic to start with. Maybe it’s just: “I’ll do long walks with the dog twice a week.” See what excites you and what you can enthusiastically agree to do – even if it is small – and then commit to doing it.
Define your goals in positive terms. Instead of saying “I have to lose 30 pounds” and focusing on what you want to get rid of, re-frame that thought as a loving commitment to yourself: “I commit myself to treating my body with respect and dignity.” Then you can gauge your success in a much more interesting and insightful way. The weight loss comes as a result of your commitment to making loving choices instead of self-loathing ones.
You don’t have to follow the herd. You can make your own choices to change your life in positive ways when you want to. It’s an individual process. One of the biggest hurdles most people need to overcome is their own impatience. People want overnight success, and, unfortunately, many books and magazines set them up to expect that. As a rule, it took a long time for your life to develop into the reality you’re experiencing now. You should be prepared for it to take some time and energy to change its course.
If you plant a flower from seed, water it a couple of times and then see a tiny sprout coming up a week or so later, you don’t walk away in disgust and give up on it because what you wanted was a flower, not a tiny sprout. You see the sprout as evidence that your plant is coming along, and that energizes you to keep watering, fertilizing and checking on it.
Take your time. Rome wasn’t built in a day. People assume that if they’re going to make changes, they have to do it all at once starting January 1. This really isn’t so much a season of action as a season of dreaming, imagining, examining and thinking. It’s a perfect time to curl up with books and journals, to explore options, to develop systems and lay the groundwork for changes we’ll embrace more fully in the spring.
Recognize that winter is a time of withdrawal and soul-seeking. Don’t exhaust yourself trying to forge a new career or start a new, hardcore fitness program unless you are really motivated to do that now. Instead, start the year by nourishing and preparing yourself both physically and mentally. Ease yourself into things.
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