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.