Most Americans begin the month of January by making a New Year’s Resolution or two. Almost before the “ink is dry” most, if not all resolutions are broken or forgotten. Do you find yourself thinking, “Oh, I just lost my will power; I’ll try again next New Years.”
Experts theorize that less than 2% of the influence that drives a person to change a habit comes from will power. If that’s true, then what will get us to stick with our resolutions and make healthier changes for the New Year?
Follow these 3 guidelines for a stress-free approach in making your New Years Resolutions a reality. Live and reap the benefits of a healthier lifestyle in the ZONE!
- Focus on what you want to do, not what you need to do
When you do something because you think you need to, you are setting yourself up for failure because you are beginning from a negative perspective. Needing to do something is really a harsh judgment of one’s life or lifestyle. An inner voice is saying, “You should do this…” Embarking on a new habit from this pessimistic view is doomed to fail before you even begin. When you do something because you want to, you are optimistic and hopeful. Contrast the difference.
“I need to exercise. I’m getting heavier around my middle. My clothes don’t fit. I really don’t like to look in the mirror anymore. Somehow I’ve got to find a time to make myself exercise regularly.”
“I want to be more active. I like how I feel when I’ve just finished a brisk walk. I like the way my clothes fit when I keep up my biking. It feels great to have the added energy from being more active. Daily activity will have the same priority as the other important commitments in my life.”
“I need to quit smoking. My loved ones are always lecturing me. My doctor tries to scare me each time I go for a check up. I guess this is the year I really need to quit.”
“I want to be healthier. I know smoking is not a healthy habit. I want to feel better and not have my clothes smell of smoke. I will check out some programs and pick the one right for me.”
- Pinpoint your passion and connect it with your resolution
Any passions you have will enhance whatever commitments to change you’ve charted for the New Year. Your enthusiasm for something you already enjoy will add drive and motivation to a new habit. Knowing your talents and what you enjoy doing will do a lot to insure a new behavior becoming a forever habit. Consider:
A resolution to get more involved in your community. If your passion is reading, find a program which allows you to share your love for reading along with helping others
A resolution to spend more time with your family. If your passion is making a great meal, find ways to make meal preparation a fun time for the family
A resolution to get a better job. Mull over what it is about your job you do like, and look for a job which gives you the opportunity to use that skill more often
A resolution to better handle finances . Consider what steps to take to shift the thrill you get from spending to the thrill of being debt free
- Visualize yourself making the change and doing it
Visualization is simply the technique of imagining the mental pictures of doing something in a step-by-step process. Think of how animators build a story-board while planning an animated feature film. Each and every move is depicted separately, and posted on a large board – the end result is a full length movie.
Athletes, actors, politicians, entertainers, doctors, lawyers and speakers all use visualization techniques before an event to enhance confidence and improve the quality of performance.
Visualize yourself implementing your resolution – as specific and detailed as possible. Imagine you doing it….Where are you? What time of day is it? Who is with you? How do you feel? What are the steps till completion? Create this visualization before you begin each day (even before you get out of bed), throughout the day, and before you go to sleep. The more often you visualize your successful completion of a New Year’s resolution, the more powerful your commitment and more successful you will be.
Consider the resolution to get rid of a cluttered desk.
Visualize the area first. Take it all in. Focus on one small area first, say a drawer. Imagine cleaning out the drawer, sorting through the contents. See yourself making piles of things to file, things to take action on, trash, etc. See the job as a finished project and feel the satisfaction from a job well done. Visualize this several times before you actually take action. In fact, don’t actually do the task, until you’ve completely thought it through. When you decide you are ready to take action, do only what you have already visualized completing, so as not to get overwhelmed. Continue to visualize cleaning out that desk, one drawer at a time, until you’ve finished.
Congratulations! Using visualization, you have successfully kept your resolution to get rid of clutter without stalling, making excuses, or feeling overwhelmed before you even began.
Use these tips to start the year off with some resolutions you can keep!