As the calendar changes from December to January, it’s totally natural to want to put everything from the past year behind us, and look to the possibility and potential of the new year.
What does this year have in store for us? It’s almost like Christmas morning – wondering how the year is going to unfold? What amazing things are we going to experience? A LOT can happen in a year. There will be births and deaths. You could be in a very different place, financially. You could have a new job (maybe you want that) or a new business. The potential is limitless!
Its so exciting because we know that no matter what – we will not be in exactly the same situation we’re in right now. It might be pretty similar, but it won’t be exactly the same. The world is always changing. So, how much influence do we want to have over it changing in a way that we desire?
I think that’s why New Year’s Resolutions are so prevalent.
We see the potential in the calendar changing and imagine what could be. It’s like dreaming of a reality that we could create. The thing is that most folks don’t realize how powerful they are in their ability to create the life they want.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Change is difficult and uncomfortable. But when we imagine what our life will look like after we’ve done all of these amazing things, we glorify what it will take to get there. We don’t think about the struggles – the times when all we want to do is eat an entire pizza & go to bed – those times that we’re so uncomfortable that we just want to be back, where we were before we embarked on this stupid idea to get healthy.
And yet, the struggle is the part that’s interesting. Every good story has a struggle – where the heroine rises from the ashes to become stronger and resilient. But when we’re in the ashes, and can’t see our way out, it’s sometimes difficult to imagine that it can be any different than how it is right now.
Create an Autopsy
I know – this sounds pretty morbid – but I’m not talking about that type of autopsy. I’m referring to the past year. Evaluate the past year – what went right? What went wrong? How were you responsible for both? What did you do that brought you joy? How can you do more of that? What did you do that didn’t work out so well? How do you do less of that?
Imagine your Ideal Day
The next step in the process is to day dream. If you could live the same day over and over and over again, what would it look like? Your ideal day isn’t about winning the lottery or signing a book deal, or even meeting your hero for the first time. Its about dreaming about what your life would look like if you had everything that you needed – who would be near you? What would those relationships look like? How would you fulfill your life’s purpose?
Receive a Destination Postcard
When we imagine our Ideal day, sometimes it can be so overwhelming to think of all of the things we need to do to get to that point, that it just seems like a pipe dream – something that we couldn’t ever achieve. In this exercise, we receive a postcard from our future-self. The future-self that is living our ideal day as we outlined it above.
What our future-self is sending us in the destination postcard, is our next steps. What is the next best thing that we can do to make our ideal day a reality?
Determine Behaviors versus Outcomes
We can’t decide outcomes. We can’t guarantee that even though we follow the best diet and exercise program on the planet, that it will produce any results. But what we can do, is focus on being consistent in our behaviors. And if we’re performing reasonable behaviors consistently, we should be headed in the right direction.
Be Honest about Your Readiness, Willingness & Ability
Resistance is a tricky little bugger. When it pops up in others, we see it as an excuse. When it pops up in our own life, everything can come to an abrupt halt. Change is difficult. And so, once you’ve determined your goals, and those behaviors that you will do on a daily basis to achieve those goals, what happens when you hit a speed bump?
Call on Your Why
Lapses will happen. It’s how you deal with them that will determine your success. So, when you’re not feeling so motivated anymore, how do you call on the feelings that you’re having right now – while you’re making all of these decisions to be healthier – to get you back on track? Pulling out all of the reasons you have for making this change will help you re-focus & get back to focusing on achieving your optimal health.
Clarify Your Priorities
Unless you live in a bubble, where you have no one else to answer to, you can have the best laid plans, but other responsibilities will creep in. Before that happens though, if you order your priorities, making the decision to either show up for your workout or going to your co-worker’s birthday lunch will be much easier.
Create a Totem
The final piece in your success is setting an intention for the year, and calling on that intention when we feel lost, overwhelmed, or need some inspiration.
It’s no doubt that after reading through all these steps that only about 8% of New Year’s Resolutions get realized. It takes a fair amount of thought and planning to make sure that all bases are covered.
If you’re interested in getting more detail about each of these steps, I’ve created an email series that will walk you through the exact steps and exercises to guide you through each of these concepts. You can get that HERE.