The best New Year’s resolutions are ones we can keep. That means, first of all, that the resolution should be in line with our core values. Look beyond the exterior and consider what really matters most to you. Motivational speakers call this “Knowing Your Why.” Sometimes, it has a lot to do with the way you think about your resolution. Consider the difference between these two resolutions:
"I will lose twenty pounds" versus "I will eat healthy meals so I can enjoy playing touch football with my kids (or grandkids)."
Superficial resolutions won’t carry us through the temptations and the daily grind. Resolutions that are in accord with our own deepest, most passionate, desires will.
Specific resolutions are much more apt to “take” than vague ones. So, we can improve the resolution to “eat healthy meals” by naming some specific, step-by-step goals. Maybe we’d resolve to limit desserts to two a week or have a meatless Monday or add one more serving of vegetables every day. And then, once you’ve decided on a resolution, write it down and put it in a place where it will remind you of your goal. In our example, you might put it on the refrigerator door.
Specific resolutions should always have way to measure progress. That can be as simple as a progress chart, or as complicated as before and during and after pictures. You can also find apps to record progress. You measure progress not to lament any failures, but because doing so encourages you to continue when the going is rough or you’re bored with it.
Set up a cheering squad. Let your friends and family know about your resolution and tell them of your successes. Similarly, if some people in your life will be unhelpful, arrange your schedule to see them less often. Your cheering squad can also hold you accountable, so include a trainer if you need one. In our example, you can ask your doctor for nutritional advice. Some insurance policies include free nutritional counseling so you can get a regularly scheduled pep talk.
Don’t try to do too much at once. Set small, reasonable goals. Once you’ve mastered that goal and developed a habit, then move on to the next small step. Remember that it takes time to develop new habits, so concentrate on what you are actually doing, not on whether or not you’ve succeeded today. If you goof, don’t beat yourself up over it. In our example, rather than spend a lot of time fretting that you missed meatless Monday, use that time to plan a meatless meal for next week.
Since your resolution comes, at its heart, from your deepest values, from what your recognize as your own best self, you can expect real changes in your life. They may begin subtly as you take small step after small step, but they will (maybe sooner than you think) have immense impact. Somehow, the universe has a way of magnifying those things we pay attention to, for good or ill.
Good luck with New Year’s resolutions and feel free to share them with the Eagle Leather community on our Facebook page!