The custom of making New Year’s resolutions hearkens all the way back to the Roman Empire. The idea developed with respect to making changes in one’s life as they related to their moral values with the goal to improve their quality of life.
Merriam-Webster defines resolution as “the act of finding an answer or solution to a conflict, problem, etc. or an answer or solution to something. Another definition relates to “the ability of a device to show an image clearly and with a lot of detail.”
Think about it. A new year’s resolution could be a look in the mirror – not just the one above the bathroom sink, but the mirror of your soul. Looking in the physical mirror for me points out a myriad of problems I should be solving. But the mirror of the soul may tell a different story. Perhaps the changes indicated here are helping to defeat efforts to keep my resolutions.
Michael Jackson said it well in “Man in the Mirror.”
Consider these culprits to achieving success:
- Your Words. A wise King wrote, “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21, MSG). Think of it! The words you say determine your life and your future! An even wiser man said, “Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45, TLB). Translation: what you say under pressure is what you really believe.
Try this! For the next couple of days keep track of what you are saying, whether positive or negative. Be prepared for an eye-opening experience. The flow of conversation in our culture is negative. Bad news gets more air time than positive news.
Once you have a clear picture of your talking habits, make a conscious effort to speak positive words. Be sure to note how you feel at the end of the day. Perhaps you’ll feel more hopeful, joyful and at peace. What a great way to go to sleep!
Positive words are like drops of precious water in a hot, dry desert.
- Their Words. Once you’ve set your new year’s goals, don’t let others talk you out of them! Unless, of course, you aspire to do something very self destructive. Sometimes people interject their fears into your life – they would be afraid to try it, so they’re afraid for you to. Envy works the same way. Just give yourself permission to follow through whether or not everyone applauds your effort. Just this once, trust your gut; go with your convictions! Even if you don’t reach the goal, you will grow and learn, and for that you can be proud!
- Dishonesty. Be straight with yourself! Ask yourself: am I really ready to do this? Who am I doing this for? Am I willing to make the changes necessary to reach this goal?
Carlo DeClemente has studied and written extensively on how humans change. He has observed that people think about changing long before they are actually ready to make the change. Some never move beyond this stage. No action results at this stage.
Only after someone has reached the point in their contemplation that they are ready to plan for action is it time to set goals for change. Once a plan is made, the next stage is putting the plan into action. There are more stages that provide follow through for complete change of course, but we’re in January! Change takes time! Be patient with yourself.
Change isn’t accomplished by wishful thinking.
- Too Much Baggage. Are you starting with a plan of action and the anticipation of success or are you starting with a ton of negative baggage from previous attempts and failures? Baggage is a culmination of all the negative things you, your family and friends, and even your enemies have had to say about the subject. Is there a voice in the back of your mind saying, “You’ve tried this a thousand times and you can’t do it?” Statistics (and your own experience) prove that if you try to solve a problem or achieve a goal with this mindset you are doomed to failure.
ERASE: all the old tapes with those negatives voices that play in your mind.
ERASE: the old scripts – the things you tell yourself about how you can’t do it.
REFUSE to let past failures define your future!
- Looking in the REARVIEW mirror. January is named for Janus, the Roman God characterized by two faces. Supposedly he was able to look backward into the past year and forward into the next at the same time. Looking back has its place and time. However, when setting goals it is important to take lessons learned from the past and focus steadily on the future.
Stay focused. Just as with driving a car, too much looking in the rearview mirror can be hazardous!
I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize . . .” Phil. 3:13 (NIV).
A life coach will help you keep focused, clarify goals, develop strategies, encourage momentum and provide regular accountability. Reach out if you’d like to know more. Happy New Year!!