Making a strategy and knowing how to stick to your resolutions will be a big win for you this year. Use the tips here to set yourself up for success.
The holiday season of the Western world is ending, your friends are waking up groggy and exhausted from their previous night’s (or month’s) indulgences and wondering if they can stick to the resolutions for change and personal development which they’ve fixed their foggy vision upon.
We all know that these resolutions are, unfortunately, soon forgotten by many as the habits, stresses, and distractions of everyday life pull those less resolute resolutioners back into the former cycles. We can avoid this pitfall by using this plan of action for staying on track with resolutions.
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Happy New Year, may this be your greatest yet.
Set New Year Resolutions that Last
We can make powerful, permanent, beneficial changes in our lives – this is how we can stick to our New Year’s Resolutions and go above and beyond what we think is possible to achieve in one run around the sun.
Whether the intention is to lose weight on a keto diet, quit smoking, stop watching TV, or be a kinder husband or wife, these principles apply.
Write down your New Year’s resolutions, goals, and intentions – keep it realistic
Don’t stop at a vague intention such as “get in better shape”, “eat more healthy”, or “start exercising” – these general resolutions and goals are where we all start, but don’t leave it at that, write down plans of action however small or minute they are. Keep the goals realistic and within reach and hold the intention to expand on them as you move forward.
Writing down our goals and expanding on our intentions is one of the most powerful ways to hold ourselves accountable. Don’t just type it on an unlabelled Word document or a sticky on your Ipad. Physically write it down in a place where it will be safe and visible…etch it into stone in your mind. Writing down goals and journaling experiences should become a habit – set time aside each day to write, and keep a nice pen and notebook with you at all times so you can jot down any revelations or observations that will aid you in the journey.
Throw your written resolution on your fridge, tape it to your door, or use it as a bookmark in whatever book you’re reading. Keep the resolution in mind and put your mental energy into the goal. As the steps necessary to accomplish the goal are revealed to you, write down the details of your plan – the broad initial goal of “losing weight” will gradually take form as a detailed plan of action for a healthier lifestyle and diet that will get you to your desired body composition.
Refine as you go
As the methods and actions that will get you to your resolutions are revealed to your consciousness your intention will start honing in on each subsequent step towards the goals. It is important to take one step at a time towards the “endpoint” (which doesn’t really exist, we are always growing and expanding with our decisions and intentions).
If the goal is to learn a new skill such as playing the piano or progressing at gymnastics movements or calisthenics, one must identify the steps necessary to progress and focus on the individual steps ahead – focusing on the end goal of gracefully performing Chopin’s “Étude No.24 No.12 – in Cm” will not be helpful to me if I have not yet learned to pound out “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” on the keys. One step at a time sounds obvious, but many of us forget this and set up stumbling blocks of frustration and self-doubt in our minds if our focus is ten steps ahead of our feet. Taking the broad goal and honing it into steps is crucial, but honing the intention on the individual steps ahead is just as important for getting to and expanding on the end goal. Journaling is powerful, don’t stop writing down the steps you must take. Continue to expand on your initial goal by writing down milestones and new revelations of steps to be taken.
Don’t let the distractions of life and old habits deceive you into regressing to the old ways
It’s far too easy to slip back into old habits – far too often, we will see something about ourselves that we wish to change, we will take a mental note and, at the moment, decide we will make the necessary changes to be a better person or stop a negative cycle of thought or behavior, but the ebb and flow of daily life can have a hypnotic effect on us, and we too easily forget what we intended to do.
We must make our goal a stronghold in the mind, we must tear down the old bulwarks of habit and distraction that threaten to pull us off track and, with insatiable drive and laser focus, stick to our plan.
If the goal is something physical like “exercise more and build some lean muscle”, setting a time for working out 3x per week is a great start but sometimes our mood or desire are just not pushing us to hit the park and do lunges in the sun.
After a long day sitting in the office, we may be more accustomed through habit to going home, drinking a beer, and lying down on the couch to watch TV. If that is the case, we have to make sure not to allow any justifications of laziness to distract us or sabotage our intentions, the desire to stick to our resolutions and accomplish our goals must be empowered more than any justifications of putting it off until later.
Build up steam in your consciousness, feed your hunger for the goal throughout the day and keep that tab pulled up in the front page of your mind…don’t let the popups take you off track.
Be proactive against old habits
Our old habits, though in the beginning of the year when we set our resolutions might just be whimpering at the backdoor of our mind asking to become back in and play, will come back armed and dangerous when we are at our most weak and vulnerable. The old habits will attempt to stand in front of your desire and intention to stick to your resolution and make lasting changes in your life – anticipate the justifications and distractions and ruthlessly eliminate them from your path. Eliminate all traces of the habit you wish to break and throw out the physical objects associated with the habit you are breaking. Make sure to cut off those mental and emotional ties as well. Clean out your living space of all the potential distractions while removing the stumbling blocks from your mind.
Our goal may be to stop the occasional 3 day junk food binges that always result in fat gain and indigestion – throw away every Snickers bar and all Ho-Hos and when they come crying to you in line at the grocery store after a hard week at work tell the little terrorists “I knew you’d try to come back, but you don’t serve me anymore and are not welcome here”. If they keep tempting you, dropkick the candy stand thengive em a cheap one-liner and walk out of the store squinting your eyes like Steven Seagal. If every time you go shopping you are tempted to buy foods which you’ve sworn off, plan your shopping trips when you aren’t hungry.
Know your weaknesses, learn the openings that allow in the justifications and take whatever steps necessary to fortify those areas against the insurgents. Build up energy to resist the old habits, this is done one step at a time and each time we resist the desire to backslide we build up speed and energy. Anticipate that which may oppose your progress and cut it off at the root, be ruthless against that which attempts to distract you from progress.
Realize there is no endpoint, expand on every step you take and if you reach your goal, push further
New Year’s Resolutions seem cliche and arbitrary to some, but they’re a great push start for many people to build momentum in life and start taking action towards their desires and goals. It’s a pity that we don’t look at every day of the year as a new beginning, a gift of life and time in which we can explore and expand on what is positive and creative while leaving behind what doesn’t move us towards our goals, but New Year’s Resolutions are a great place to start.
When you do reach that goal, or the first step towards your more broad open ended resolution, do not stop. Don’t forget about the goal after checking it off your mental list so you can go right back to the repetitive hypnotic mind states and habits that have ruled you in the past. Every day, every moment, is an opportunity to grow, to expand, to learn and to shed layers of baggage that weigh us down. Each milestone we reach will put more fuel in our tank, spark our desire towards further action and give us a boost of speed as we ride that momentum towards a more accomplished and fulfilling existence. Here in the Andes you can hike to the highest peak in sight hoping to look out over the entire world, only to behold a loftier more enticing mountain before you. We strive not to simply achieve our resolutions, but to overachieve them and use them as a step along the way. It’s a new year with new opportunities and new challenges, let’s rise to the occasion and make this next trip around the sun an exponentially expansive and profound experience for ourselves and all we come into contact with. Life is a precious gift, an infinitely profound and mysterious opportunity for exploration and growth – let’s treat it as such.
Change takes time, so be patient with yourself and always pursue self-awareness.