How do we write our new story for 2015 without a resolution? Make a commitment to change.
As we put to rest 2014 and consider what stories we can write for ourselves in 2015, we wonder, how can we make it happen?
Most people who celebrate New Year's Day on the Roman calendar want to start the year off with a bang. We want to mark the occasion with a New Year's Resolution and commit to better ourselves through a new project, starting a diet, giving up smoking, etc.
Yet, by the time Valentine's Day rolls around, most of us are really glad there is a reason to celebrate with chocolate, indulge in our guilty pleasures, and hug someone who doesn't care much about anything else but sharing in some Godiva with you. Okay, so good friends are a treasure. But honestly, are you your best friend?
The reasons why so many people fail at achieving the goals they set for themselves has more to do with the expectations they truly have of themselves than anything else.
Let's look at it this way: You are asked to close your eyes and describe yourself in an ordinary setting, relaxing one Friday night around dinner time. What is the scene? What do you look like?
Many would say: "I'm hanging with some friends at home, having some beer and pizza, talking about exes, wearing comfy jeans and a big t-shirt that make me feel great in spite of my extra 20 lbs." All right, maybe that's not you exactly, but that's pretty common.
Now, let's try the exercise differently: Close your eyes and imagine you as your ideal self in your ideal setting one Friday evening. Now the scene changes. Mine would be: "Enjoying some wine and cheese at a local night spot with my husband after our workout, feeling great about my body, and looking forward to a late evening couples massage before retiring early after watching a funny movie."
Do you understand how that works? It's very important to create a vision of yourself as you truly wish or want to be, not as you currently are. Until we believe the vision of ourselves and let it into our souls, we really won't change. The mind has to adjust to this new you. It's called creative visualization. You do it until you believe it.
Here are the three most important things to remember in order to reach your goal in 2015:
1. This is the new you.
You will remind yourself daily that this is NOT a New Year's resolution, but the NEW YOU. You will write yourself a note every night reminding yourself of why this is the new you and put it in your lunch pack, or set it as a reminder on your phone to go off 2 or 3 times a day. It should read something like this: "The new me is happy, loves to jog, and feels great, because health is life's greatest joy."
2. Reward yourself.
Don't ever think of reaching a goal without rewards. Our minds really enjoy positive reinforcement. Anything that is negative or makes us feel deprived, or as though we are giving up something will surely fail. Don't tell yourself you are giving up pizza. Make the decision to only have pizza the last Friday of every month, and only one slice. Then, reward yourself with something you love to do.
If you are sticking to the new you 25 days out of every month, then reward yourself with an experience you love—maybe a massage, a new outfit, a day out in the snow, a great steak dinner. Anything you truly love that doesn't hurt the new you.
3. Make it public.
Until you acknowledge to your friends and family that you are making over your life and they'd better accept it, then you yourself won't truly commit. If it makes your family, friends, or lover uncomfortable, they will intentionally or unintentionally sabotage you.
Remember, you are doing this for you, not them. Bettering yourself should cause them joy, not envy or insecurity. So, remind them how much you love them and ask them to support you. If they choose not to, you must push forward and remember, this is the new you, not the "new them." Be prepared to lose some acquaintances along the way. The new you will understand.