Happy New Year, albeit a bit late. I hope you all celebrated well with your loved ones and friends. As the 2017 promises to be unprecedented in many ways, it is an opportunity to review your successes and challenges of the past year. With a blank canvass, you get to color your world, deciding what changes or transformations you desire to make this year, filling in the dots or drawing outside of the lines of your life.
As I clocked in the New Year, I contemplated some new years resolutions: lose weight, improve my German, write more, and stick to a daily spiritual practice. In a long life of resolutions and half-hearted promises, I’ve been resolute with only one: I decided not to smoke cigarettes. To this day, I’m an ardent non-smoker.
According to Tony Robbins, the world’s most successful life coach, anyone who sets a goal for the New Year will have abandoned it by January 17th. I ditched mine within the first week.
Robbins also says that any goal or vision has to be compelling enough in order for it to be successful. A compelling reason might be a family’s desperate need to save money for a child’s operation, or a down payment for a house, for example. In a nutshell, it’s a determined vision that pushes you past the finish line.
How I Make Resolutions Stick?
The key to obtaining your goals, according to Terri Savelle Foy in her book Make Your Dreams Bigger Than Your Memories, is to break them down into manageable, bit-size pieces that are realistic and have timetable in order to keep you motivated and accountable.
So if the goal is to lose weight, it’s better to have a smaller objective with a specific date. For example, it is better to say, “I will lose 5 pounds by February 15, 2017 by walking 20 minutes every day and by eating five fruits and vegetables daily instead of random snacks,” than setting an arbitrary goal of loosing weight.
Why am I resisting even writing down my goals?
The truth is my goals feel like overwhelming chores, like a chockablock to-do list. I desire an improved streamlined life-style, not one with restrictions and add-ons.
I really don’t want to start a diet, but I want to improve my posture that will help eliminate my back problems. I want to quit my German book club because the reading level is above my current comprehension. I don’t want to put myself under pressure to write every day. I want my daily devotional prayers to be simple.
What does that look like?
For me, it is adding a few posture exercises to my already established 10-minute morning stretching regime. It also means taking daily walks regardless of the weather.
I’ll confess to my German reading circle that I don’t always comprehend the books we read because the subject matter is abstract or political which taxes my overloaded (aging) cognitive abilities. I’ll ask for a pass on the books that are too difficult and join in on the reading that is suited to my level.
Putting pressure on myself to write everyday makes me feel like a failure every morning. It doesn’t work. What I’m really long for is a writing style enlivened by active verbs, apt adjectives, thoughtful metaphors and similes that sparkle like stars.
Lastly, I lack the mental stamina to mediate and pray Deepak Chopa style, but 10 to 20 minutes a day of devotional readings, praying and meditation is manageable.
So far, I'm doing okay maintaining these resolutions. That means, I'm not beating myself up mentally if I skip a day or two. This year I'm giving myself permission to go easy on myself--life is just too short.
Over To You
What are you goals for 2017? Have you ever kept a resolution? I'd love to hear from you. If you are not clear on what you want to achieve this year, I am offering a clarity coaching session to you as a gift. Just fill out the contact form below and I will get back to you.