Replacing Resolutions With Resolve

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When the New Year’s Eve is upon us, do you feel a sense of excitement? Are you one of those folks willing to stay up, ring in the New Year and watch it emerge—all shiny and new? Do you find yourself saying, “This year, ‘It’ will be different!” or “This year, I’m really going to make ‘It’ happen” as the ball descends and the shivering throngs in Times Square count down? There really is something special about a New Year. Like a newborn, unblemished and pure, it can fill us with a feeling of great promise and anticipation. The possibilities seem endless. There is great power in a new beginning. And it makes sense that a ritual of making resolutions at the start of a new year developed. Who wouldn’t want to harness that energy and sense of hope?

Yet, it has become a perennial joke. In January, inevitably, gym memberships rise and Weight Watchers meetings overflow and millions seemingly commit to make the change they seek. By March, if not February, everything is back to normal and those newly committed folks stop hogging up space. Clearly, it is not enough to make a declaration of what you intend to change about yourself, your life, or your world. Why does all that energy and sense of hope dissipate?

The answer is that the process of implementing change is more complicated than the simple act of uttering a resolution. There are 7 steps you need to take in order to make the change you seek a reality:

1. Map out your vision for what you want to change
2. Identify your motivators as well as stuff that sucks the wind out of your sails
3. Make your list of available resources
4. Create your support network
5. Design your reward system to celebrate accomplishments
6. Write down your action steps and start
7. Evaluate your progress and return to Step 1

Over the next several weeks, I will be sharing ideas on how you can incorporate these steps into your own process of change. Let’s start with Step 1, mapping out your vision. There is an art to this as well as a variety of ways to keep your hopeful feelings vibrant. Vision boards, goal cards, mind movies, and mantras are some of the tools at your disposal, but in order to create resolve you must first be specific about what you are resolving to change. If, for example, your resolution is to lose weight, it is not enough to simply say, “I want to lose weight.” You must attach specifics to your aspirations: “I would like to lose 15 pounds by June 30, 2013.” If your vision is unclear, think of The Five W’s—Who, What, Where, When, and Why—and interview yourself. Think about what it will feel like with ALL of your senses to actually accomplish what you want to change. I encourage you to write down your vision of the future as you clarify it. Capture your thoughts and desires for change in a form that you can revisit while you are on the journey of making your desires a reality.

Did you make a resolution? Do you have a clear vision of what you have resolved to change this year? Have you captured it? I would love to hear how you are mapping out your vision for change in 2013! If your resolution is to get organized and or move, let’s talk. I would love to help you keep your resolutions this year.

25 thoughts on “Replacing Resolutions With Resolve

  1. Kelly Reply

    Wonderful post Janine. I can’t wait for all the subsequent pieces! Did I mention my gym is overflowing!!?? Great reminder: The 5 W’s!

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Thank you for posting, Kelly. Give it a few weeks. You’ll have the gym all to yourself soon enough!

  2. Nancy Tierney Reply

    Okay! I look forward to the rest of this series. I made a list of new daily practices I want to do this year, and already, I’m having trouble making ’em happen.

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Nancy, I think it is great that you want to incorporate new practices, but I want to caution you. It sounds like you may be biting off more than you can chew. There is no need to change (or add) everything all at once! Look at your list of activities you would like to DEVELOP into a “daily practice.” and pick the one that feels MOST important. Take a small bite and make time for this new item in your daily routine. Once that activity becomes part of your daily routine, take on another one from your list and incorporate it into your day. 2013 can be your year of transition. You can definitely get there. Just take smaller bites, Nancy.

  3. laura Reply

    Darn ~ i’m only using a 6 step system! Forgot about the REWARDS!!!!!!!! “This” is going to be way more fun!!!!!!! Thanks for the reminder to use REWARDS, Janine!

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Laura, so glad I helped you see how important it is to make it fun! There is no way you can succeed without including rewards for all the hard work that is required! Enjoy the rewards!

  4. Janet Reply

    Hi Janine! I like the big picture thinking and then drilling down to “What steps can I take right now – or this week to get closer to my goals.” Oftentimes, the big picture scares and intimidates us. But your process is spot on. I think it makes reaching our resolve more doable and more fun. Thanks! Janet

  5. Lorraine Reply

    Hey, I like #5. I do not reward myself for my accomplishments. I never have even thought about it for organization. I always try to break things down into little steps. Great post!

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Hi Lorraine,
      These steps can be used for any kind of action that involves a change in behavior, not just organization. Changing behavior is hard, and often the results are not enough to keep one motivated to get to the end of the process. Rewards are key. They force you to recognize your accomplishment and note how far you’ve come from where you started. Enjoy adding #5 to your change process in everything you do! Thanks for commenting!

  6. Linda Reply

    Great post Janine! I love your interview process, especially the “why”. The goal seems so much more powerful when we can connect to it on a visceral level. I’m looking forward to your upcoming posts!

  7. Lori Byron Reply

    I’m a total New Year’s resolution junkie. With your steps, I’ll be so much more likely to achieve them. It’s kind of like mapping out the strategic plan to reach your company goals, rather than simply posting them on a white board and hoping you reach them through osmosis.

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Exactly, Lori! The process of change is the same for the individual level as well as the company level. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Linda Samuels Reply

    Excellent post, Janine. I like the very specific 7 steps you propose for keeping resolutions or attaining goals. For me, it begins with the bigger thinking. What do I want to accomplish this year? Those ideas are captured on paper. This is enough to move me forward to the next stages where planning and some accountability pieces are introduced.

    • Janine Post authorReply

      Thanks, Linda. With all of the studying up I’ve done on the models of change, it has become clear to me that every model has the components I outlined. Sometimes the models have 1 or 2 more or less steps, but these seven are all represented in the models I’ve looked at. It’s great that you are clear about your process! It certainly works for you! Thanks again for commenting. I truly value your point of view on these issues.

  9. Linda Samuels Reply

    That’s the key…knowing what works for you. Having a process to work from is so helpful. And I know the 7 steps you’ve outlined will be great guides for many.

  10. Mary Reply

    Janine, I think this process of documenting a journey towards change can be very powerful. It’s like looking at a map to see if you are headed in the right direction (sometimes there are several ways to get to your destination). It’s also a marker for how far you’ve traveled and how much further you have to go. REWARDS!! I like that! You are always a dose of positive energy.

    • Janine Post authorReply

      You got that right, Mary! I love the way you put it. Navigating toward change means you are moving toward it, but you can take the route that works for you. Thanks so much for commenting!

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