Maybe you’ve already started your New Year’s resolution(s), or maybe — like many people — you will begin yours on Monday, January 6th. (Why is it that most of us dread Mondays, yet every year so many of us pick the first Monday of the New Year to start our resolutions?!?!) Whether you’ve just started or you’re getting ready for Monday, here are three thoughts about making sure you keep those new resolutions.
- Say it out loud…to someone who cares: If a resolution is made in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it count? Many people make resolutions in the quietness of their own minds or on the pages of journals where no other eyes are permitted to wander. While these resolutions may involve good intentions, the act of privacy immediately lowers the likelihood that the resolution will be completed. Research makes it abundantly clear that teamwork makes resolutions far more successful. So it’s not just telling someone, but telling someone that cares about you, your goals and your future.
- Establish habits that lead to success: Don’t try to make changes in one massive swoop. Big changes happen through the formation of daily habits and patterns. The fastest way to make long-term change that sticks is to develop habits and patterns that last. In one sense, it’s easy and very rewarding to create rapid changes that don’t stick. For example, have you ever (or have you ever known anybody who has) gone on a diet and lost a lot of weight, really fast? The diet is initially very rewarding, but since diets are by nature temporary, the long-term gains are often lost once the diet is broken or the individual returns to “normal life”. In fact, over the years, studies have shown that long-term, on-again-off-again dieting results in weight gain despite the initial release of weight! However, if you make a lifestyle change (instead of just “dieting”) through habits and patterns, the likelihood of success rises dramatically. Big changes flows out of daily habits.
- Don’t be afraid to reevaluate: Because most of our resolutions are about identifying areas in our lives that need some adjustment, our desire is to make significant change that sticks. In order to do that, we must be willing to reevaluate the direction and scope of our resolutions throughout the year. In the past, I know I’ve made resolutions that were way too easy and simple; and other goals were set way too high. For example, if I said I wanted to lose 100 pounds in the month of January, I may find i’m down 20 by January 20th, and a goal reset is very appropriate. It’s not that 100 pounds was necessarily unrealistic (I could probably drop 25-30…100 is a bit steep!!), it’s just that the time parameters weren’t a great fit. So what? Adjust your resolutions to create success! (And no, this isn’t an excuse to under-challenge yourself, it’s just a reminder that evaluation and adjustment is essential to success!).
Happy New Year to you! May 2014 bring you closer to God as you challenge yourself to live the Overboard Life.
Go ahead and take the plunge, 2014 will be better if you live it on the water!