Managing New Year’s Resolutions in 2011

Michael Laffey, Life Coach, Resolutions, New Year

Resolution Tips

I know, you can’t move for reading about New Year’s Resolutions this time of year.

Below you will see a few things I’ve picked up. Hopefully, some will work for you.

What Is A Resolution?

Once you know what it is then you can decide if you’re making one! What it is not is a wish or a dream. What it is is something you decide to do with purpose & vigour. Make sure what you choose is something you know you will commit to. Don’t set yourself up for something you know you won’t spend time achieving. Be targetted! Pick 1 or 2 things and do them well. Once you’ve achieved those you can move on to further goals.

The Why?

This is the big one!
“I ought to” and “I should do” really don’t cut it in the motivation stakes.
If you can’t answer “…because…” or scale the importance of what you want, either 1-10 or low-medium-high, then you have to be honest enough to face the fact that you won’t complete or achieve your goal.
Know its value for you. Define its importance to you. Then work on ways to do it.

The How & The Who?

Here comes the fun part. You have whittled down your goals to ones that matter & mean something to you. But remember: “He who fails to plan is planning to fail”, Churchill.
Planning “how” can cover many aspects.
* There are the logical steps – e.g. a set of training courses, or a graduated set of exercises, buying fresh  fruit & veg daily for healthier meals, or defining times or days of the week you can do what you want to do.
* There are people around to support you. Do not think you are alone. We all need help & support. Anyone who cares for you will help you to succeed. If you need access to a specific skillset or specially trained person then there will always be a market for them. Do not be afraid to hire people or find local groups.
* There are the things you have learnt from experience – i.e. learn from your previous failures at persevering with something. Why did you stop? How will you remain motivated this time?
* Yes, motivation. The grease that keeps the motor running. This comes in different shapes & sizes. Identifying what motivates you will be absolutely key to your perseverance. Other people can help you to focus but they cannot give you motivation. That only comes from having identified “Why” + the ways in which you remain committed + action.
Your committment & drive is dependent on your fundamental belief in what you are doing. Do you completely buy in to what you’re doing? (highly intrinsic) or are you afraid of an outcome and want to avoid or tackle it head on? (externally driven). Neither is better than the other, but your perseverance will depend on being honest to yourself about what it is that is driving you to do this.

The When

Think of this in several ways:
* When to start? – Can you start today? What could you do today and then plan & schedule further actions.
* When to complete? – is there a deadline? If there is, work back from the deadline & identify what you need to do with interim milestones.
* When & how do you integrate what you want to do? – if you can’t find a realistic way of incoporating your resolution, or steps toward achieving it, then you will struggle. Remember, you do not need to do everything you do today PLUS what you want to do going forward. Identify time you waste and why. Could you use that time productively for your resolution? Are there things you could give up or spend less time doing for you to integrate your resolution.

Reviews & Reminders

Keep what you are planning to do close to hand.
– Regular reminders of why you are doing something are equally, if not more important, than the actions themselves.
– Use lists or spreadsheets – keep a version on your pc/laptop/smarty-i-thing-phone. This way you have a constant reminder of what your resolution is & why you want it.
– Again, you have access to people who will support you. They will want to know how you are doing. If you’ve gone ‘off-piste’ simply talking about it with someone could be enough to put you back on the right path.

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