Steps to help you with your New Year's Resolutions

This article is the first of two installments.

It is mid-January...how are you doing so far on your New Year resolutions?

A few weeks ago was the advent of the New Year. It was a time of reflection of the year that pasted, of the good memories, and undoubtedly some sad memories. It was also a time to reflect on what we accomplished and how close we came to doing all that we wanted to do. While celebrating our successes, we also realized we have not accomplished as much as we had hoped. As it turns out, the motivation for change wanes significantly as the weeks and months of the new year progresses from January to December.

It is quite interesting to note that research published in the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology revealed that after a year only eight percent of people are successful in achieving their resolutions while 73 percent experience little to no success.

That is the bad news. The good news is that you can be part of the eight percent who achieve their resolutions.

The advent of the New Year also brings new hope, optimism and resolve that this time and this year things will be different when it comes to resolutions. Although hope, optimism and resolve are helpful they are not enough as the study above bears out. So, what else is needed? I propose following these six steps.

Following them will greatly increase your chances of success with your New Year Resolutions. I invite you to review your resolutions using these steps as a guide.

Step 1: Acknowledge that change, any change, is difficult:

Staples advertizes the “easy button.” Press the button and the situation is quickly resolved. Life is easy. We want life to be easy. But often it is not easy. If we fully acknowledge and accept the idea that change can be difficult it will increase our chance of success for we will not give up or wilt at the first mental, physical, organizational or familial barrier that gets in the way of our goal. And, these things will get in the way, rest assured. The thought, “Oh, this is just too hard...I can’t do it,” will be replaced with, “That’s right, change is difficult, but I can do it, I just need to stick with it.”

Step 2: Examine your motivation:

Motivation is a very important key to following-through on your resolutions. Pause for a moment and think of a time when you have felt inspired to do something, a time when you were full of enthusiasm and feeling very passionate about something. Inspiration, enthusiasm and passion all fuel motivation. And, motivation is the energy that keeps us moving toward our goals, and keeps us going when the going gets difficult.

How does one tap into and develop strong motivation? Look over what you want to change or accomplish this New Year, and ask yourself these questions:

What is the reason or purpose for this resolution?

Why is this resolution important to me?

If I stick to it and attain this resolution, how will I feel?

If I give up on this resolution, how will I feel?

Exploring these questions fully will help you link your motivation to your deepest values, and by doing so, you will tap into your energetic well of inspiration, enthusiasm, and passion. If you follow-through on this exercise and don’t feel more energized and committed to your resolution, then you may need to rewrite or change it for your heart is not in it. You will know when it is right when you feel more energized and committed to your resolution.

Step 3. Prepare. It is extremely important to prepare for each and every resolution before jumping into any action. Here is an example: David’s resolution is to ride his bike more often. (This is a poorly defined goal, but more on that below.) He is going to start on Saturday. Early Saturday morning he goes out to the garage to get his bike and then sees it is behind several large boxes. He can immediately feel his motivation begin to wane. He manages to move two of the boxes only to discover that one tire is flat. That does it! He decides he can’t ride today. It would take too much time to fix the flat given other commitments for the day. He had readily jumped into action without sufficient preparation.

Before taking action on your resolution, think of preparation. What do you need?, Do you have what you need? If not, when and where will you get it? When preparing, think of what, when, where, and how. If you can answer these questions you will not only be ready to go into action, but you will also be more likely to follow through and succeed.
In the second part of this article I will be discussing the remaining three steps that will greatly increase your chances of success with your New Year Resolutions:

Step 4. Identifying S.M.A.R. T Goals and Developing Action Plans
Step 5. Support
Step 6. Accountability

Norman P. Richey, MSW, CMC is a Life & Wellness Coach.

If you are curious about coaching and would like explore what it is and whether it would be helpful to you, please contact me for a complimentary 45 minute coaching session. Having a skilled and experienced coach to meet with each week can make a world of difference in living the life you want. For more information, visit normricheycoaching.com, e-mail normanrichey@gmail.com or phone 678-519-3776.

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