For centuries, January has been a month of resolutions.
I am sure you have heard them all, or most of the garden variety resolutions. I will eat better. I will exercise. I will call my parents more often. I will pay attention to my spouse and my kids. I will not multi-task. I will be more organized. I will not be late to appointments. I will go to the doctor. I will grow my business. I will work hard and get that promotion. I will change my career to follow my passion. I will practice self-care. And on and on it goes.
January is a time for self-reflection. A year has closed and a new one is upon us.
Why do we make these resolutions when only a small percentage of the people actually change and follow through beyond the first few weeks in January? Why do we want to do these resolutions? What is the desired outcome, the result we want to achieve? This is the secret to making meaningful change and true progress, this year.
What is not working?
What do you want to change?
Why do you think that if you act on your resolutions you will feel better, think better, be happier or more successful?
And if change is what’s in order, then what is holding you back from staying the course beyond January? What is getting in your way? How can 2020 be the year you stay on track if not through June but through December and beyond? And certainly beyond January 12, as research shows this is the fateful day that we give up on your resolutions.
Mel Robbins, an ex-lawyer and now best-selling author and TV host, states that we need to parent ourselves. When we are children, our parents guide us and help us help ourselves. Parents should provide gentle discipline and love. They set bedtimes, ensuring we get adequate rest. They plan our meals ensuring (we hope) that we eat our vegetables and receive a well-balanced diet. Our parents, teachers and coaches are also there to plan our schedules and encourage us to do our homework, study, get good grades (or practice our art or our sport) so that we succeed in our endeavors. As we leave our family home and school environment, these adult figures are often no longer a daily presence or certainly not as much of a permanent presence. In addition, we may not have built the skill set to maintain the self-discipline to parent ourselves.
Replacing our parents and parenting ourselves is the key to making our resolutions stick and achieving meaningful progress in the New Year. But how?
“An idea is just a dream until you write it down and then it’s a goal” (anonymous).
Step one is to write our dreams and desires down on paper.
According to the life coaching group, The Handel Group and Inner.U, Step two requires you to take action steps to help you reach that goal.
Schedule time for yourself in your calendar to do your action steps and don’t reschedule yourself. Mel Robbins states, “Count to five and start the action step before you get to 5.” If you want to break a habit, ensure that there is an added step (even just 20 seconds longer) before the habit and alternatively, if you want to develop a new habit, ensure the new habit is 20 seconds easier.
Don’t keep your desire a secret; put it out there. Tell one person, your BFF, or tell the world and post it on social media. You can memorialize your goals and help activate your tribe.
Remember back to when you were young and there were consequences when you didn’t hand in your homework. If you don’t keep your promise to yourself, set up consequences: perhaps a week of no coffee or no dessert or no binge-watching or no social media. Select a ‘punishment’ that has teeth – something that will push you to keep forging ahead and make your new behavior permanent. This is the way to achieve lasting change and progress.
And finally, choose someone who will hold you accountable and help you keep your promise to yourself to stay on track.
That same someone, or another person, can also be your partner in your desire to change. Choose a partner to join you at that fitness class. Pick a friend to be a writing partner to help you get your book or blog written. Find a teammate to shag balls with so you practice your free throw or your hitting. Always wanted to try the Whole 30 diet? Ask your roommate to do it with you.
In summary, we are all in this together. It takes a village to raise a child and a community to build each other up. So, find your coach and your teammates for this game called life. Or find your director and fellow cast members in your show called life. Or perhaps you need your choreographer and your backup singers in your music video called life. Whatever and however you want your life to unfold, accept where you are now, be grateful for all you have now and all that went before and take bold steps to design your adventure so that your story unfolds in the way you envision for yourself. And remember what Shawn Achor, NY Times bestselling author of The Happiness Advantage and Big Potential, researched, “The key to success is being happy, not the other way around.”
At WCWRC, we are here to help you design your life, and help you reach your dreams while maintaining or improving your wellness. Over the past few years, we have expanded and offer integrated medicine and total wellness.
Schedule your next appointment to maximize this new year and now, finally, achieve the progress you’ve been seeking.