We’re at that time of year again when New Year’s resolutions are on the minds of many. Maybe you’ve made some and maybe you’ll keep one or more of them. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ve already let a resolution slip!
The idea of New Year’s resolutions has become both a cliché and a joke. A cliché in that making resolutions at this time of year is one of those things people are expected to do. A joke in that everyone knows that the vast majority of resolutions will not be kept.
And in reality most New Year’s resolutions are quickly bent, broken or abandoned and added to an ever growing list of failed attempts at self-improvement – because they’re made without much real thought or clear intention.
The roll-over of a calendar year, a birthday or other major events are useful demarcation points for initiating change in your life. So what’s a change-minded person to do?
Several years ago I came up with a solution to the challenge of the New Year’s resolution. I resolved to never again make New Year’s resolutions – and I’ve kept it to this day. Problem solved! I’d invite you to consider doing the same.
That doesn’t mean that I’ve given up using the New Year as an opportunity and demarcation point for shifting the circumstances or conditions of my life. It just means that I now think about and approach the process in a more effective way.
What are New Year's Resolutions Anyway?
Let’s examine the word “resolve” as it’s used in the context of New Year's resolution. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, the applicable definitions are:
5: to reach a firm decision about <resolve to get more sleep>
6a : to declare or decide by a formal resolution and vote
You’ll notice the definitions focus entirely on the decision to make a change, and not at all on the subsequent action that’s actually needed to do it. That’s the issue with resolutions. They are simply a decision, and for most people making a decision is not enough!
The decision to do something is just the first step. So these days when I want to make a change, I choose to think of it as a process rather than a resolution. Then I act accordingly.
You can do it too, and here’s how.
You follow up the initial decision/resolution by making an action plan so that you know what you need to actually do. That means:
1. You specify a goal or desired outcome, making sure that it’s clearly defined, realistic, measurable and given a timeline.
2. Then come up with a series of specific actions or steps along with one or more milestones to help mark progress along the way.
3. Next, the most important part of the plan is to put structures in place that support you to take regular action and follow through.
Some common examples of structures are:
- Using your calendar to schedule time for taking your actions.
- Setting up checklists, tracking sheets or other systems to track your progress.
- Getting appropriate and useful tools, supplies, equipment or software you need.
- Taking a class or training to gain necessary new skills.
- Arranging for the help of an accountability partner or group.
4. The final step of course is to get started.
And there you go, no need to ever make or break a New Year's Resolution again!
What Do You Want This Year?
So what's your desire? What problem do you want solve or what do you want to shift or accomplish in 2016? Take a moment to imagine yourself at the end of this year having made a big change, achieved a major goal or fulfilled a heart's desire. What’s different for you now? How has the quality of your life and relationships improved? Imagine how good it feels to know that you actually followed through and did it!
If you have any doubts about being able to do it yourself, let me help. I can’t over-emphasize the value of having accountability and support to get started and stay on track. And I can help you set the structures of an effective, useful plan, then provide the expert feedback and accountability to ensure you get the results you want.
To jump start your goal or project click here now to schedule a complimentary Strategy Session and Empowered for Freedom consultation. At the end of about 45 minutes together, you'll have a clear objective along with at least one or two specific action steps to move you forward. We'll also have a chance to find out if we’d be a good fit to work together to make sure you do achieve your objective. There's no obligation, just an opportunity to get some expert support.
I look forward to hearing from you and supporting you to the results you want soon!