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You know the drill. In January we decide to lose weight, be more this or be more that. Then after a while we're back to our same patterns and behaviors.
Instead of creating stale resolutions just because it's "the thing do to" in January, why not create something that you'll feel good about? Have you ever had the same resolution more than once because you may not have achieved it the first, second or third time around?
If this sounds familiar, here are five simple steps for creating resolutions that you'll actually keep this year:
1. Create a goal that is meaningful to you. Instead of a resolution, develop an intention that truly motivates you. It's often better to avoid the "shoulds" -- those things you only think you need to do, someone else wants you to do or mainstream society dictates you're supposed to do. You're more likely to reach a goal if you're truly excited about it. Say you want to lose weight. What is the "why" behind it? What is your underlying motivation for it? For enhanced health and wellness? For a specific event such as a reunion or vacation? For greater self-confidence? For improved mental health? No matter the reason, coming back to your original motivating factor will be helpful.
2. Reflect on how you want to feel. This is one of the most important keys, and it can also tie in with your "why." How do you want to feel in the new year? How do you want to feel on a daily basis? When you wake up in the morning? Come up with a word or phrase of the year. Post it where you can see it daily as a reminder and to help you make conscious decisions. For example, I want to feel "vibrant" or "energetic." I will post these words on a board, on the refrigerator, on my mirror, at my desk, and anywhere else I might see on a daily basis. I will even come up with photos that reflect these feelings, and I can keep them in mind when making decisions.
3. Develop an action plan. Once you get crystal clear on your intentions, consider how you will allow your vision to come to fruition. Okay, so you're going to lose weight. It doesn't just happen on its own (wouldn't that be nice!). Developing a strategy such as "I will walk Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 30 minutes when I wake up, starting tomorrow" is much stronger than "I will try to exercise more." If developing a strategy makes you want to halt in your tracks, then break it down to just one step. What's one thing that you can do immediately to help you get you closer to your goal?
4. Have an accountability partner who will support your vision. Share your goals with a friend or loved one. Join a group for support. Work with a coach or mentor. Share your intention on social media if you dare. Sometimes self-discipline isn't enough. Many successful people in this world did not reach their goals in isolation. Find people with similar interests. Surround yourself with people you admire and who possess the qualities you strive to possess. We often become like those we hang out with, so if you're striving to be more positive, surround yourself with positive people. It's okay to let go of relationships that you feel bring you down, deplete your energy and no longer serve you. It feels so refreshing to be with people who uplift you rather than drain your energy and spirit.
5. Be patient with yourself! Remember that often change does not happen overnight. Your small, daily actions will bring about big changes. Consistency will be key. Momentum creates momentum, and before you know it, you'll realize that your small steps have had a snowball effect and have manifested big results. And remember to reward yourself for the smaller victories along the way!
These are just a few tips to help get you going for a healthy, happy and successful year. What has helped you keep your resolutions each year? Please feel free to share your tips below!
Nancie Vito, MPH, CHES is a transformational coach on a mission to help others find joy and get out of their own way. After learning so much on her own journey, and with so many people burned out from a "soul-sucking" job, she feels passionately about helping others create lives they love. Visit her on her site or on her Facebook page for more inspiration.