Here we are three weeks in to the new year, how is your resolution turning out? Have you made that change you pledged back on January 1 and are now reaping the benefits? Or have you had some days of success and some days of backsliding? Or did you forget about it all together by the end of the day on January 4?
If you’ve been successful, HURRAY! I would love to hear about it below.
If you’ve had backslides, stumbling blocks, or even amnesia on your quest to the Resolution, FEAR NOT! You are a normal human being, creature of habit, lover of the known and familiar. I would love to hear about this as well.
Creating change is always difficult and typically the more difficult the change the more worthwhile it will be in the long run. It is made so difficult because we take comfort in the familiar, even if it is unhealthy or detrimental to other parts of our lives. We feel a sense of control and comfort when we know our surroundings and what to expect. Therefore, change take courage.
The word resolution connotes a firm, deliberate commitment. It also refers to bringing clarity and examining the smaller parts of something complex, think of the resolution on your microscope. Bringing resolution, or clarifying the parts, to your commitment to a life change, can help you to bring about the change.
The first part to examine is why you want to make the change; what are the benefits of living this new way. For example, if you are working on maintaining a new diet, are you doing this to lose weight, honor animal rights, have a more sustainable agricultural impact, trim your waistline, improve your heart health, improve your immune functioning, improve your mood or energy level… There are lots of possible reasons for any one change, pick out what is most important and most motivating to you. It helps to imagine what your life will be like after 6 months or a year of successful change. Write down your top two or three reasons to change and post them somewhere you will see them every day and be reminded of why you are going through the hard work of changing.
The next part to bring into resolution is what will get in the way of the change you want to make; what are the obstacles. Once you have identified the obstacles you can brainstorm ways around them. For example, your resolution is to maintain a new diet to in order to lose weight and improve heart health, one obstacle is that there are always donuts in the break room at work that tempt you; to work around this obstacle you could make a request to your co-workers for different snacks, you could avoid the break room, you could make sure you drink a huge glass of water before you go in, you could bring your own snack in… Put your obstacles under the microscope and hone in on ways to get around them.
Next focus in on how you are going to make this change; make plans, identify steps, set goals that will get you where you want to be. Change doesn’t happen all at once over night, it is a process with room for many little successes along the way. These little successes will add momentum, so don’t forget to acknowledge them and reward yourself. Back to the example of maintaining a new diet, some goals could be: identify healthy alternatives to familiar unhealthy foods, clear house of unhealthy foods, read book on nutrition, find recipes and cook one fat-free, low calorie dinner each week, identify supportive people and tell them your resolution… These goals should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive (SMART).
Finally, if you have slipped off track do not be tempted by the Screw It Factor (i.e. I had one donut, screw it I’ll eat whatever I want). Each time you notice that you have lost your way on the path to the new way of living, re-resolve yourself to get back on track and keep going. Recognize and congratulate your self when you are on the path, even if you’re not there yet you are working hard. It is a tough path that takes clarity and courage.
My resolution is to make a blog entry at least once a month. Please share your resolution here in the comments section. (Making it public gives accountability which will enhance motivation.)