How many times have you made resolutions on New Year's Eve, just never to look at them again, never mind actually acting on them? How many times have you made resolutions, started the year doing everything right, and found yourself giving it up after a couple months?
There usually are only two reasons why people don't stick with their resolutions:
In other words: If you don't truly want this change at all levels, and/or if you try to do too much at once, it won't happen. To take an example, let's use the most common New Year resolution and my experience with it: Weight loss. In survey after survey, people cite it at their #1 New Year resolution. However, when people are asked a few months later how they are doing on it, it is also one of the ones that are the most often abandoned.
Why is that? First, people may not be fully ready to lose weight. They realize that they need to at an intellectual level, but their heart tells them a different story. In my case, I gained extra weight in the past five years, and had wanted to lose it for at least two of those years, but it wasn't happening. Even worse, I kept gaining weight, and the one or two times I set out to lose, I regained what I had lost within two to three months, and then some. Sounds familiar?
I was breaking both of the keys to having long-lasting resolutions: I wasn't truly in harmony with myself when I was saying that I wanted to lose weight. My intellect wanted it, and I wanted to look good again, but another part of me didn't think this was such an issue, and didn't want to be bothered with the effort and discipline necessary to make it happen. Furthermore, I wanted it to happen FAST! I just wanted the pounds to melt.
The key to change for me was to actually stick to the two keys of success above: I changed my goal to something the mental, intellectual and emotional parts of me could be fully in agreement with: Feel better physically - I was just tired of always feeling tired and having sugar crashes! I started also with bite-size efforts, and efforts that, again, I was feeling in complete agreement with myself about. In my case, this translated with committing to at least 15 minutes of exercise a day, 5 days a week. It made me feel so good that I quickly increased it to 30-45 minutes, but this came about because it felt right, not because I had decided that that should be the progression, and I would make it happen no matter what. I only committed to 15 minutes a day!
During that time, I didn't lose weight, but I didn't gain either! The second shift happened when I changed my outlook about food and what food is. For me, the key was to start to see food in terms of those that nurture and those that hurt my body. Since then, I have lost 10 lbs, and plan on losing more.
So now it's your turn.
Take an hour or so to yourself, without significant other or children to interrupt you. Write down the things that you would like to accomplish in 2006. Now, read each on of them in turn, and ask yourself if you are in complete harmony with this goal: When you read it out loud, or in your head, do you feel this deep feeling that you just know it will happen, or does your little voice start to say “Fat chance", “you'll never manage it", or “I don't want to"? If the latter, is there another way you can look at your resolution or goal that silences the little voice in your head? Remember, for me it was reformulating it from a weight loss issue to a physical well-being issue.
Then, think about how to keep your resolution for the short term. What is the amount of time that you know you can devote to it every day or every week. It doesn't need to be a long time, it just needs to be an amount of time you can stick with over the long term. You will know when you have the right amount of time because your little voice will stop blabbering, and you will instead feel like this is easy! Try 15 minutes a day for size, but, if all you can commit to is 5 minutes a day, than commit to 5 minutes a day. This will get you 5 minutes closer to your goal every day!
If you want more accountability for it, share your resolution and how you will achieve it with someone else. Feel free to share it with me. And then, on a regular basis, touch base with your accountability person, to measure your progress.
Karin Vibe-Rheymer-Stewart, creator of the SuperWoman Relief Systems, is a Holistic Time Management expert who wants you to make the most of your time, find time for yourself and reduce your stress. Visit her website at http://www.SuperWomanRelief.com for more information and to subscribe to her free monthly SuperMom and SuperWoman at Work newsletters, or contact her at info@SuperWomanRelief.com .