We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched. Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives… not looking for flaws, but for potential. ~Ellen Goodman
New Years Day falls on a Sunday in 2012. Does that make it a perfect day to start your resolutions? Not necessarily. You might have been ready to hit the gym and eat better yesterday, not necessarily January first. What is so magical about making resolutions at New Years?
I was curious about the actual definition of resolution. I saw words like determination, deciding on a course of action, being resolute or firm on a purpose. Other words like resolution included perseverance, tenacity, strength, and fortitude. These are valuable assets to make effective change in your life and much needed throughout your resolve.
Let’s talk about some practical tools for lifestyle changes. Assuming you have made a firm decision about your goal, it’s time to make a plan. And notice I referred to one goal. Changing many habits at once is like a ticking time bomb- just when will it (or you) explode?
Abrupt resolutions without a plan in place can be a surefire way to not achieve your goal. For example, you might have thought about quitting smoking for the longest time. Deciding to quit without support systems and plans in place can be disastrous. For your highest success rate, plan to consciously replace the thing you are removing you’re your life. A successful plan can include having your patches, lozenges or medication in place. Finding an online or in person support group can be the saving grace when you have a nicotine craving. An exercise plan can be helpful to decrease anxiety during those first few weeks. Talking to other people who have been successful in what you are planning to change.
Having a plan can help you stay on track. When you become discouraged your plan has a built-in support system; a safety net in case you choose to fall back into old habits. You see, there is a point just about when you’re ready to achieve your goal that you may be tempted to quit. Push past that barrier with all of your might. See yourself being free of the bondage of your old habit. Reach for a supportive friend’s hand. Just hang on.
If you slip, love yourself even more. Give yourself compassion as if you were helping your best friend. And by the way, you are helping your best friend-you.
Know that I believe with all my heart that you can be successful in what you want to achieve. Set your goal and get your plan in place. Don’t be concerned about meeting that January 1 deadline. Get a firm plan in place first.
For over 25 years in the health care profession, Lisa Birnesser has studied stress relief techniques and have helped hundreds of people reduce stress in their lives.Lisa specializes stress management coaching by helping people do what matters most every day.