I’ve failed at more New Year’s Resolutions than I’ve kept. And I’m not ashamed to say it.
In the past, I’ve resolved to:
- eat less chocolate
- eat less, period
- exercise more
- exercise at all
- eliminate debt
- keep my house cleaner
- lose weight
- spend more time with friends
- spend more time with family
- spend less
- eliminate caffeine
- cut down on caffeine
- research caffeine to see its reported “ill-effects” are real
- work on my marriage
- have more patience with my son
- read the Bible
I failed miserably at most of these resolutions.
Thinking about the resolution is easy. It’s the starting that’s hard. And the continuing. So, really, it’s the doing that’s hard.
Tony Robbins says,” A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
That makes me think, “Shut up, Tony. I have so much on my plate already. Where will any of this new stuff even fit into my life?” And then I realize that this is precisely Tony’s point: I haven’t really decided.
Yet, over the years I have exercised more, eliminated caffeine, increased my patience and many more things that had once been failed and forgotten New Year’s Resolutions.
When I looked back at the goals I had accomplished, or at least made respectable progress upon, I found a common thread: Emotional Investment.
For each of the realized resolutions, I had an emotional reason, deeply felt, that was important to me.
At 44, I signed up for a half-marathon training group. As an occasional runner, I’d never run–never even wanted to run–more than four miles at a time. I didn’t see the point. But, at 44, after a winter of sloth, I realized that I was a year away from 45, which was close to 50, which prompted me to think of what I wanted to be like at 50. My answer: not like THIS.
So, I joined the group and trained all summer, often getting up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturdays to run before the heat of summer days dawned. I threw up, a lot. I get migraines from the heat and sun, and, when combined with running eight miles in 85% humidity, often made me sick. But still, I ran. I ran because the image of a puffy out of shape me at age 50 made me want to run.
Every time I felt sick, I held that puff-ball image in my head and I felt how much I didn’t want it. Then I replaced puff-ball visualization of Debra with a svelte, lithe visualization of Debra. And I liked her. She looked great: thin, energetic, happy.
Now, I if I don’t feel an emotional investment, I don’t commit to a goal. If I really want to achieve a result, I spend a lot of time delving into and creating an emotional need.
That’s where a true goal begins: emotional investment. Based on what I’ve learned through my failures and successes, here are:
Seven Steps to Becoming a New You
- Dig deep to find your WHY. Do what you need to do, (write, visualize, imagine) to create find the reason, deep inside you, for achieving the goal.
- Tell someone. Say it out loud to yourself and then tell at least one other person about your goal. This helps make it real.
- Partner. If possible, partner with someone. Whether or not they have the same goal is irrelevant, but partnering with someone for accountability and encouragement can help you push through low spots.
- Start small. Give yourself credit for small starts. They matter.
- Celebrate. Revel in your successes, no matter how small. They matter! You matter!
- Schedule it. Take a long, hard, honest look at your daily, weekly, monthly calendar to and commit to set time aside to achieve your goal. Then guard the time with your very life. The time matters. Your goal matters. You matter.
- Measure it. Create benchmarks and write them in your calendar. This will help you measure your progress and stay encouraged by small successes.
A resolution can become a reality. If you feel the WHY of your goal, you are more likely to commit to making it happen.
Have you ever failed at a New Year’s Resolution? What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn from your successes?