Say it with me: "This year I'm going to transform my life from mundane to magical by not only writing down my New Year’s Resolutions, but actually following through with them." Easy enough, right? For some, but for most people, the easy part comes in the writing of them, not the doing.
How many people do you know resolve very year to tone their bodies, lose weight, exercise more? And how many people actually do it?
Ah yes, therein lies the rub. It’s hard to resist the optimism and hope of the New Year, the feeling of a fresh slate on which to create the lives we want: “I want abs so firm I don’t have to be lying down to see my toes, I want a bum that isn’t jiggly and covered in dimples, I want to be able to buy a pair of Manolos AND pay my rent, I want my work to be so fulfilling I can’t wait to get up every morning, I want my marriage to be wildly romantic...” Most of us start with high hopes, and we may even spend a few days working towards our new ideal, but the truth is, very few people are able to stay on track.
Why is this? Scientists (those little cuties in glasses and white coats) say the resolutions are not the problem, but the actions we take to reach our goals. Based on the latest cutting edge research, here are a few fresh tips to help you stay on track.
Find a Resolution God(dess)mother
When it comes to ourselves, we have a difficult time seeing clearly because our emotions cloud our vision. When our friends have problems, it is always easier to see the conflict and find a solution because we are not blinded by our emotions. Why not try this idea: this year, ask a friend to help you make (and keep) your New Years resolutions. Select a friend that has always been honest and bold with you. Take her out for champagne and tell her that she has been selected to be your “Resolution God(dess)Mother.” Chances are she will be honored to help you with your transformation process.
Mix It Up
Realize that you are going to have to do things differently in order to make a real change. If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got. So, mix it up this year.
If your goal is to shape up: take a dance class you’ve never tried before, plan a healthy spa vacation or walk your friend’s dog. Even small changes, like taking a different route to work, or buying your coffee from a different shop will open doors for you. Try it!
Make a Plan
First step: Take your “Resolution God(dess)mother” out for a delicious brunch. Tell her your goals and where you see possible obstacles for yourself. Ask her to help you create a plan that will take your resolution from nebulous to concrete. Be sure to define exactly what you're going to do, when you’re going to do it, and how.
If your resolution is to lose weight, figure out how much you will need to lose each month to reach the total amount you want to lose for the year. (Breaking it into smaller parts like this will also make it more manageable.) Write down the whole plan, the whole enchilada, if you will – when are you going to exercise? What are you going to do? How often will do it? And schedule that exercise as an appointment. Making your body fit and healthy is as important as any appointment or meeting. If you’re tempted to skip it, remember you’re worth it!
In addition, make rewards part of the plan. (My favorite part of any plan!) Here’s an incredible tidbit: creating rewards, even small ones, for every step of your process will actually rewire your brain! What seemed like monotony at the beginning of your path will become exciting with every rewarded step! You’ll look forward to making a real change. Find pictures of inspiring women and post the plan, rewards, and pictures somewhere you’ll see it often: your refrigerator, your closet, your front door, your car dashboard…
Have Someone Hold You to It
It easy to say you are going to work out every Wednesday until it’s raining or you have too much work to do. Since we are mixing it up this year, how about promising your “Resolution Goddess-Mother” a reward for when you achieve your goals. It’s comfortable for you to fall back into your old patterns, but not if it means disappointing a friend.
It’s Never Too Late
Giving up by saying that it is too late for you to change is simply a cop-out. And no excuses! There are so many people that were late bloomers in not only their success, but also in finding their talent and true gift to the world.
Robert Ludlum was an unsuccessful actor for forty years before he began his career as an author. But once he found his talent for writing suspense novels, he had 25 that were all on the NY Times Best Seller list, including The Bourne Identity. The Marquis de Sade didn't publish his first novel, Justine, until he was 51. Henry Miller didn't publish his first novel Tropic of Cancer until he was 44. Raymond Chandler published his first short story at 45, and his first novel, The Big Sleep at 51. This theory doesn’t just apply to authors. Colonel Sanders began his KFC franchise in his sixties. Swedish marksman Oscar Swahn won two Olympic gold medals in the single shot event at the age of 60. He won his last medal, silver, at 72 making him the oldest medalist. Swami Prabhupada founded the Hare Krishna movement in 1966 at the age of 70. Kurt Warner who entered the NFL at age 28 (which is ancient for an athlete), and went on to become a two-time MVP and Super Bowl champion.
Give yourself the whole year
Pace yourself and cut yourself some slack. Just because you were feeling optimistic when you set your resolutions, doesn’t mean your should be hard on yourself when a month has passed and you still don’t have enough extra money to buy that Prada Handbag. Take it one step at a time. Just don’t give up! Last year my resolution was to be more technologically savvy. It took me 7 months to finally use my Mac laptop my students all pitched in and bought me for my birthday. It was overwhelming for me to learn how to use it. I missed my right click and felt overwhelmed. Now, I am editing my own webisodes and uploading them to my website. The important thing to keep in mind is to not give up! Keep taking baby steps and your new year’s resolutions will be completed before you know it!
This could be your year, Baby! And if it you don’t keep your resolutions, there's always next year. After all, if dimples were good enough for Shirley Temple, they’re certainly good enough for my ass!