It’s October 18 and already I see Christmas decorations in stores and on the internet. Christmas is WAY early this year. With all this holiday stuff bombarding me, I’ve started to think about the New Year. How will 2012 be more fun and satisfying? From there it’s a short hop to GUILT over all those past New Year’s resolutions that barely lasted through Bubble Bath Day (always January 8—didn’t you know?)
This year I’m going to do it differently, I’m not going to add yet another resolution to the heap of un-kept resolutions; this year I’m going to look back and figure out why 2009 was like 2010 and 2011. I’ve created a little three column worksheet to help me straighten it all out.
Step 1: The Ghost of New Years Past
Think back to last year and the two years before. Find a few resolutions (like 2 or 3) from each year that you were really passionate about. These goals were, at the time, so important that you resolved to allow nothing to stand in your way. Perhaps you wanted to drink less alcohol, take a few college classes, volunteer more, lose weight, etc. These are a few of the most recurring resolutions people make.
The list could be pretty long so let’s whittle it down to only one resolution per year. If you’re like me, you may find a few of your resolutions show up all 3 years. If so, pick a 3-peater. If you have different resolutions every year, choose one that was most compelling each year.
Write them in column 1 by year. For example, “volunteer more” 3-peated; list it separately for 2011, 2010, and 2009.
Step 2: Halt in the Name of ______
Each year, you started off great and then, WHAM! A road block. Describe the obstacles (list at least 3) that got in your way. Be specific and let it all pour out. Include why this obstacle had the power to stop you from getting what you wanted.
Step 3: Closer Than You Thought
As you look at these obstacles, list all the ways in which you could overcome each of them now. Here are 5 starter questions to get you going:
- What was missing that could make all the difference? (Support, Knowledge, Confidence, etc.)
- What did I have going for me that I just didn’t use well enough? (A gym in your apartment building, Tuition reimbursement from your employer, PTA opportunities, etc.)
- What did I assume about the obstacle that wasn’t really true? (Too hard, Too complicated, Too long, Won’t work, etc.)
- What could I change about my daily schedule? (Less TV, Walk vs. Ride, Cook)
- What could I change about my living spaces that would make it easier? (De-clutter, Decorate to entertain at home, Fix car, etc.)
Okay! (Rubbing my hands together like Mr. Miyagi) We have something to work with this year! Go back and pick a resolution that you would probably go for again this year. If it’s a 3-peater, then that’s easy; if you have 3 different resolutions, just go for the one that makes you excited and a bit nervous at the same time.
Don’t try it again!
No, I’m not suggesting you make it a renewed resolution, you probably thought that was my plan. No, you tried that already. Let’s try coming at your success from another angle. This time, rather than pick the resolution, pick the obstacles that derailed you. Resolve to eliminate the obstacles one by one over the course of 2012.
Success is a by-product
People get weighed down by the enormity of change because change on this scale, e.g., lose weight, drink less, volunteer more, etc. means you’ll have to break the habit of being yourself. Right now, you have habits and attitudes that define who you are. To be something different, you’ll first have to stop being who you are so that you can become who you want to be.
That’s just way too hard sometimes; I mean you’ve gotten really good at being you. Stop working so hard! Going for success directly can be like pushing string; it’s just a poor strategy any way you slice it.
Come at success from the side and start doing things that clear a path; grab the string by the end and pull it! That’s much easier! Your resolution, like the entire length of string, will eventually get where you want it to be with less effort and strain.
Oh, and be sure to ask yourself whether the resolutions you listed were really goals you wanted vs. things you thought you should do. If any of them hint at this—drop them like hot potatoes!
PS: I created a little presentation about this using Prezi. Have a look and please tell me what you think of it.
Related Articles: The Anti Resolution
Related Tip of the Week: Respect Elders,
Chime In >>