Already a new year is upon us, and with the dropping of the ball, the toasts and the kisses comes the resolutions! According to the University of Scranton, Journal of Clinical Psychology, December 13, 2013 the top 10 resolutions for 2014 are:
2014 Top 10 Resolutions
- Lose Weight
- Getting Organized
- Spend Less, Save More
- Enjoy Life to the Fullest
- Staying Fit and Healthy
- Learn Something Exciting
- Quit Smoking
- Help Others in Their Dreams
- Fall in Love
- Spend More Time with Family
Preparations For Success
When you read these, what stands out? For me, it's the gross generalities. How much weight? What does "organized" mean to you? How much do you want to save, and what can you spend less on? What does enjoying life to the fullest mean? I could go on, but you get the idea. You need to be specific so you can really connect to your resolutions, and only then, can you measure your growth.
As you can see, most resolutions are related to weight, health and fitness, finances, and relationships. On average, only 8 percent of people actually reach their goals. These successful individuals have the ability to keep themselves motivated and accountable. It's surprising that the number isn't actually smaller! Changing your behavior on your own is really difficult. And when you make an explicit and specific resolution, your opportunity to succeed is 10 times greater. Better yet, tell someone out loud. Commitments we make out loud and to others have even greater staying power.
Gyms and fitness centers are counting on large numbers of you to join during January. From Club Manager Central, April 18, 2012, 67 percent of gym members never use their membership. And the average monthly membership fee is $50, with $39 wasted due to underuse. As a gym member for a long time, I've found that those individuals who are successful either have a buddy, or they join group classes and make friends. Friends will motivate and hold you accountable: "Missed seeing you last week. Are you OK?" Or you can enlist the support of a pilates or yoga instructor or personal trainer for private or small group sessions. If it's a trainer that motivates you and holds you accountable, remember that you can use private studios without membership fees. Know who you are, what motivates you, and find what works best for you.
5 Steps To Reaching Your Resolutions
Your biggest opportunity to succeed comes when you've done your preparations. Whatever change you're seeking, a new and healthier perspective can make the journey much easier. First, create a mental picture of your resolution. Be very specific about what you would like your future to look like. Make that picture real. What would it feel like and be like to live that life? What's important about succeeding for you? Make that a picture that resonates deeply within you.
From that big life envisioned above, establish very specific and attainable goals. Success breeds success so when I say attainable, I mean it! If you join a gym and plan to visit daily, is that attainable? Really? You're going from a couch potato to a gym rat overnight? Maybe you're going to walk around the block on Tuesdays and Saturdays for starters. Ah, now that's doable! Now build on that accomplishment.
Don't get blindsided by obstacles in your way. Think through who or what is going to support and motivate you. If you want to cut out carbohydrates but your spouse comes from an Italian family and enjoys pasta and bread, work out an arrangement that won't sabotage your efforts. See if you can't get them to be a part of your process, or at least not derail it. If not, choose your response in advance so you know how to respond when the issue arises. When the spaghetti is served, you commit, in advance, to choose a small portion with a big salad.
Be accountable for your achievements and celebrate them. If you can't measure it, you can't manage or celebrate it. First find an accountability partner, either yourself or another. Your partner should be optimistically supportive, looking for the positives, reframing the negatives; someone that keeps you happily moving forward. Celebrations may be nothing more than a quiet moment to appreciate your efforts and your results. However you choose, take the time recognize your hard work and enjoy!
If you're about to begin another resolution journey just like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, then it's time to think again. What in your process isn't working? What would help you be successful? How can you change your mindset and get it to stick? What would it mean if you could reach that resolution for life? Health and wellness coaches are trained to help you do just that. People respond, "I know all the information. It's all online." Educating yourself is a great first step. But internalizing that information and making it work for you might take a trained partner.
Remember, studies show it takes 90 to 120 days to create and hold a new habit. Yet, we're a society that desires quick fixes. As a colleague of mine remarked, "when people want it bad, they will get it bad." So my challenge for you is to "want it good":
- Whatever habits you want to change
- When you want to feel more empowered and less overwhelmed
- In order to get yourself unstuck and moving toward your goals
Then you must "want it good." When you "want it good," you want it to last your lifetime, you want to do it right, you're committed however long it takes, and your vision for yourself is well thought out, realistic, and resonant. When you want it good, you forgive slip-ups, even expect them. You understand that you made a less healthy choice, and there's another opportunity to make a healthier choice around the corner. You're perfectly human. When you "want it good," there's no stopping you. All obstacles are just bumps in the road seeking a creative work around. Support and accountability are available when you seek them.
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