Photo by: Filomena Scalise
"This is my year!"
"This time will be different!"
"I'm going to do it"
Sound familiar? We make these statements every year, and every year (mid May or so) they become nothing more than whispers. Echoes of good intentions that haunt us, making us feel guilty. Those darn New Year's Resolutions! Don't let these ghosts haunt you this year. Read on for simple steps on how to make those New Year's Resolutions stick this time.
Step 1: Realize it's more than just words
Quite simply, making true change in your life is more than a simple declaration of "I'm going to do x". Actually, thoughts and words tend to get in the way of real change. Why? Because they don't exist as anything. They are not real. You can say you're not eating junk food anymore, all the while stuffing your face with potato chips. Actions are real. True change, New Years Resolutions included, require actual action. Sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised how often we label something with a word and then think it's done, complete, in the bag. Don't let those well intentioned words stay in limbo in the land of thought.
Step 2: Battle plan time
Converting those statements to action require removing all the obstacles that get in the way. Most obstacles to New Years Resolutions, and most change, revolve around the future. It's thoughts like, "after I do X, then I can finally start doing Y" or "I just need X to happen so that I can do Y". STOP! Realize these thoughts are just words. They don't exist. They are filler thoughts and symptoms of fear.
To properly man your battle station, you have to create a plan. A simple checklist (write it out on paper!) of actionable steps towards your goal. Please don't include vague notions and wishful thinking. It's time to get serious here! So lets say I want to lose X pounds. My list would look something like this:
Throw out junkfood
Create workout checklist
Research healthy meal options
You get the idea. Make sure these steps are simple and actionable.
Step 3: Do, Act, Stay Real!!
I can't stress this enough. Just do it! Start with the first thing on your list, ignore your thoughts about it. These are actions, tasks to be completed. They are not things to dwell and think about. Thoughts don't exist as anything, actions are real. Stay real! Leave the imaginary to daydreams and television. Make sure to cross out an item when complete. (Feels good, doesn't it?)
Step 4: Re-evaluate
Take 10 to 15min once a week to update your list. Put new actionable items on it. Evaluate your progress and repeat steps 2 through 4. Wash, rinse, repeat. Re-evaluating and updating your list is extremely important. Don't overlook this step!
There you have it, a simple strategy to make those New Year's Resolutions (or any change) stick. Remember, the key to this is to stay out of the realm of the imaginary. Take your mind out of the equation and simplify the process down to actions. Stay inspired and stick to actions.
Happy New Year!