The Oxford dictionary defines a resolution as ‘a firm decision to do or not to do something’. With New Year’s on the horizon, resolutions are all the buzz in conversations around the dinner table. They are especially relevant when people are eating delicious food while mumbling how they are ready to get on their New Year’s resolution to lose weight, after the holidays.
For anyone who may not already know, I detest the phrase, ‘New Year’s Resolution’. I feel that it is a guaranteed way to erode your future self-esteem, as individuals rarely follow through.
On the other hand, I love this time of year and use this, as well as September 1st, as an opportunity to reflect on the previous year, dream for the future and then make a plan for how to get there. I get excited about replacing a new calendar on the wall, firming up the last receipt for tax season and starting a fresh new day timer book.
With that being said, resolutions have become a pet peeve of mine, as I watch people boldly declare their intentions and then struggle to stay focused. People tend to state unrealistic goals and think that willpower will help them succeed, only to fall back to old habits, within months, weeks or even days of their grand declaration.
Why does this happen? How can we be so determined one moment and then failing miserably in the next? The answers to these questions has always fascinated me.
Hi, my name is Julie and I am addicted to chocolate and sweets. If I had to choose between several million dollars and giving up sugar, ice cream, chocolate or sweets, for the rest of my life, I would have to pass on the money. As crazy as it sounds, I cannot imagine my life without the joy I get from food.
This is where our visions to get healthier, whether it be weight, eating habits, exercise, relationship or financial health, will depend on two essential factors. The first is our ‘why’ and the second is our ‘plan’.
Why is it that we seek change? What is it about the goal that leads us to make these resolutions? If someone is looking to lose weight, why? Our ‘why’ has to be stronger than the desire to get the pleasure we seek from the habits, which got us into a pickle in the first place.
My extra weight did not come on overnight. It was one Skor blizzard, ice cream cone, piece of cake or chocolate bar at a time. It is because I consume these things regularly that I have enough padding on my body to survive an Alaskan winter, without a coat…
Looking good has never been a big enough ‘why’ for me. My husband loves me as I am, I am still fairly active and I guess it took a health ‘why’ important enough for me to consider a change. With my gallbladder being recently removed, I am forced to re-evaluate my diet. Certain foods make me sick and I have had to come up with alternatives.
Each and every one of us has our own vision of what is important for us and what we are working towards. Each and every one of us has dreams, desires, wish lists and plans for a better life. You must figure out what ‘why’ will keep you on track.
Even if you have tried and failed, started and stopped or strived and retreated, congratulate yourself for attempting to take action, re-evaluate what has worked and what hasn’t, keep pressing forward with concrete action steps and never, ever give up.
Life is much too short to simply throw in the towel and cave on what is important to you. Grieve the unachieved dreams and goals from your past, consider them tucked away in the resolution graveyard, ditch the word ‘resolution’ and instead, replace it with daily action.
Break down your grand vision into manageable, tiny, creative action steps, try to make these action steps fun and celebrate reaching these mini checkpoints along the way.
Take some time to dream about what you want for yourself and then look at what you can do in each day, toward it. The next day, do the same. Since large dreams can be overwhelming and stop us in our tracks, before we even get out of the gate, just break it down and act.
I like to use index cards or sticky notes to write my tiny action steps that I am working on. I pin them to a cork board or tape them to a wall. With the headings, DO, DOING and DONE, listed at the top, I move the pieces of paper as the steps progress. (I learned this from my uncle, Robert Gernon, who is an author and business consultant.) It is a great visual when you are on a path of progress.
Here is to wishing you a blessed new year ahead, filled with new adventures, outdoor fun, meaningful experiences, laughter, uplifting people, an abundance of new opportunities and a chance to become more authentic to who you really are and what you really want out of life.
Embrace each day as a fresh start. Keep your energy replenished by doing things you are passionate about. Take time to regularly reflect on your journey. Recalculate your path, as needed, and believe that you can reach the result you are looking for, as you long you just pay attention to the step directly in front of you.
You can do it!