Another year nears its end, and for many of us it is a time to reflect over the last 12 months. My evaluation of this year is very positive; hopefully so is yours.
However, often there are circumstances that we are not happy with, yet. There are areas in our lives where we want to make a change to the better, be it career, relationships, health, or other areas of your personal life. The New Year offers a great opportunity for letting go of the past and committing to a new start. And many of us will make New Year resolutions.
And of course you are committed to these New Year Resolutions. But how serious is your commitment really?
I observe it every year in the gym: in the second week of January, the gym is crowded with people, and the manager has a big smile on his face. Week after week, there will be less people, and about mid of February, attendance will drop back to the usual level…
How can you make sure that this time you will stick to your New Year resolutions? How can you spare yourself from the frustration not to keep your promises to yourself?
Here is my Christmas present for you:
7 Easy Steps to Stick to Your New Year Resolutions This Time
1. Gain CLARITY
What is your motivation for making a change? Is it truly your goal or are there expectations of others involved? If you just want to achieve something in order to please other people, do not even start. Only when you feel this intrinsic motivation, this drive inside of you with the true desire to make a change, then your chances to succeed are high.
2. Create PAIN
Once you know that you want to accomplish something for yourself rather than for others, be clear on what you want to move away from. Paint a drastic picture of all the pain you will continue to endure if you do not change. Be brutal: if you want to quit smoking, put photos of smokers’ lungs in your bedroom and make a promise that you will not end that way. Or imagine how much quality of life you will lose if you continue working in a job that you hate and that makes you unhappy until retirement. What will it ultimately cost you if you do not make the necessary changes?
3. Create PLEASURE
Paint a compelling picture of your future. Be aware of all the benefits that you will gain from making a change. E.g. if you exercise regularly, your health level will improve, you will feel more energetic every day and you will have the power to do the things you enjoy doing, and you might feel more attractive. Make this picture so appealing that it becomes a must to achieve. Put post-its as reminders on your fridge, on your computer, or on the mirror in the bathroom.
4. Take SMALL STEPS
Although revolution may be the only way under certain circumstances, generally evolution is what brings us forward. A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step. Once you have made the decision for a change, you do not have to turn the world upside down overnight. When you decide to run a marathon after being a couch potato for a decade, you just don’t get there within one month.
Be aware of your achievements and reward yourself for the small daily successes. (If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, cake or beer are not suitable as rewards.)
5. Take CONSISTENT ACTION
You must break the old habits and replace them with new ones. Instead of a rush of activity in a one-time effort, consistency is the key to success. You need to do things regularly to achieve challenging goals. Adding structure helps. A structure can be a plan, e.g. a rigid schedule of two language lessons every week. Put them into your calendar as fixed as a business meeting or a wedding party. A structure can also consist of people who support you, e.g. a buddy who will go jogging with you three times a week after work.
6. Make a PUBLIC COMMITMENT
Commit first of all to yourself (there is nothing more rewarding than realizing that you can trust yourself!) Then let others know about it. Tell all your friends what you are going to do. Make a public statement to your 500 Facebook friends and 900 Twitter followers that you will lose ten kg in three months. You may regret that statement at times, but it will support you to keep going in times when you are about to fall back into old habits.
This is the most important step. Do not forget that you set your goals in order to live a happier life. All your efforts will be worthless if you don’t enjoy the journey! Don’t beat yourself up if things are not going the way you want them to be. Allow yourself to be happy although you are not perfect.
In fact my New Year resolution will be to enjoy every single day in 2011 as much as I can.
I wish you and your families Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year 2011. May you make your dreams come true!