Ok, fess up, you are thinking about making some resolutions for the new year. Or, maybe like me, you can’t bring yourself to create another list of good intentions only to find, come February, that you have ditched the goals because “I can never make them stick and do what I say I’m going do?”
The desire to change and improve is still there regardless. In order to get a different result this year, we have to do what? We have to do something differently.
I’ve got some suggestions and they start with this idea:
Ditch the word resolution. It’s fraught with the weight of failure from years past. And, it looks to me like this: Re-Solve. Working to solve the same problem over and over again. It’s a set up and I’m here to suggest a new way of looking at the changes you want to make. We’ll begin by trying on a new word, Revolution.
Let’s review the reason I chose The You Revolution for the title of this newsletter. In the first issue I gave a nod to my ever so smart friend Chris who suggested the title and pointed me to one of the definitions of the word.
“Revolution; n. 1 a drastic and far reaching change in ways of thinking and behaving.” How many of you can see that it will take some very different thinking as well as different ways of behaving to bring about the life of your dreams?
Good, you are the smart woman I suspected was reading this. “But Greg, how does this apply to successfully making changes in the new year?” you ask.
I’m glad you asked so let’s get started. You’ll need a pen and paper or your computer for the next couple of steps. First list the many changes you have in mind to tackle. Don’t worry about the order or the how of making them work. Next go through these items-loose weight, get my finances in order, be a better parent and so on–and put the number 1 next to the one that is screaming, “pick me, pick me.” Ask yourself if this is the one thing above all else you feel you want to accomplish. If you can only change one thing this year, this one feels most necessary. Ok, now go through the remaining ones and put them in order of importance. Or if they seem to have less energy, discard them.
If every one of the things on your list seems really important I’m going to suggest you are taking on too much at one time. I didn’t say you can not accomplish radical changes in many areas of your life in one year. I am suggesting that too many items will doom you to fail at some and perhaps many. We have practiced and made a habit of failure by simply taking on more than it’s possible for us to achieve. It’s time to practice success!
Ok, one last question before you start to plan how you’ll accomplish this goal. Can you envision yourself succeeding at this? If you can’t see it as possible for you you’ll never achieve it.
Warning: Your reptilian brain, whose job it is to keep you safe, does not like or encourage change. Think big, dream big, yes and know that all sorts of things are possible even if you don’t know how you’ll achieve them. But you must be able to envision your success. Can you see yourself fit, and fitting into that pair of jeans you bought a year ago and wore once? Think about how you felt when you wore them. You felt good right? If you are tackling something you’ve never done before and so have no memory of it might feel good, imagine it.
Read your revolutionary idea out loud. Is it something you can put an action plan around? For instance being healthier in 2007 is a concept. What’s the one aspect of your health you’d like to improve now? You need a place to begin. Adding more vegetables to my meals each day is an actionable idea. Lowering my cholesterol, losing ten pounds, building up bone mass are all actionable ideas within the concept of getting healthier.
What are your actions? What tools will you need to make this practice possible?
Now that you are clear about some of the aspects of creating this non-resolution I suggest you find an accountability partner. This person will cheer you along, help keep you out of your old way of thinking, and call you back when you veer off the path. I strongly urge you not to choose your spouse or significant other! Need I explain why? Thought not.
Where do we get new ways of thinking you want to know? Read, get motivational CDs to play in the car, attend seminars, hire a coach.
Ok, you own the change you want to make and have committed to it. You have a person who will support you. Would you agree that this new way of thinking and acting is not always going to be easy or go smoothly? As is always the case there will be real and perceived roadblocks yes?
How will you counter those things? Thinking ahead allows you to act rather than react and get pissy and off track.
If you run out of time to get to the gym before a PTA meeting what can you do for exercise instead? If your work schedule changes and the only time you can work out is first thing in the morning but that means getting up an hour earlier is that a possibility? If not then not; no guilt. What is another possibility? It’s the often overused but vitally important concept of being proactive.
Oh and I might have neglected to say this before but if I have it needs repeating: Success requires flexibility.
Now for the final factor in creating whatever it is you want for the new year .
Three little words
“What One Thing?”
What one thing can you do to move you towards mastery in your chosen area of change? Rather than being stopped because you can’t exercise for an hour, eat 3 healthy meals while traveling, or take 14 supplements because you don’t really feel like it, what one thing can you do to move towards your health?
Isn’t success made one step at a time? I’m not telling you anything you’ve never heard before, I know. What I am doing is giving you a tool for success. It’s a solution to the all or nothing habit. And trust me if you can come up with one thing when nothing seems possible on your path to lasting change you will feel like a million.
And when you do one thing celebrate like crazy. We are reticent to reward our efforts. Rather we down play them saying things like, “oh it was nothing”, or “I could have done more.” Don’t go there!. Put on the Rocky theme song when you make 15 minutes to walk rather than your intended hour and feel good about it!
Oh, and music? It’s a brilliant motivator and energy shifter. If you have a favorite up-tempo song that you can use as your theme song around this goal, you’ll be enhancing the likelihood of your success.
I’m going to close by quoting another bit from the first newsletter. I see you all as successful at whatever you decide to be, do and have. Become a revolutionary thinker by practicing this: If you are willing to “try on” different ways of thinking, will consider as true that you always have a choice, and will visualize yourself as achieving the dreams you thought were unattainable, your life will transform!