By Karin Leonard
Did you make New Year’s resolutions for 2017? If you didn’t, it is not too late – at least if you do want some real goals. Resolutions have a bad reputation: we tend to make them every year, yet hardly anyone keeps them. There is no question that clear goals and intentions put you in the “driver’s seat” of your life. What will it take to turn “resolutions” into tangible results? A little scheming up front can go a long way.
Making Resolutions Work
If you did set new resolutions, how are you doing with your intentions for the New Year? Knowing what you want is a good start. Yet, often, when good intentions meet the pressures of everyday reality – and the well-oiled machinery of familiar habits – it takes more than just hoping to change. Knowing how to motivate yourself, and setting up effective support structures for maintaining life-balance, will keep you on the road to success.
Magic of Motivation
Motivation is the why of goals. It is the fuel that actually gets you to
your destination. Let’s say you decided 2017 is the year when you
will really exercise, and continue to do so. What would make you want to leave your safe cozy cave on a rainy evening? When it would be so nice to just stay home and read, or watch TV… To overcome inertia, you need positive momentum. Why should it matter to exercise? Would you venture out because doing so would increase health and energy, or might prepare you for an upcoming athletic event? The more powerful your reason, the greater the magic possible.
Make Change Work
Making resolutions – and keeping them – often involves some form of change. And change happens on several levels: through shifting your 1. Environment,
2. Behavior, 3. Beliefs, and maybe even 4. Identity.
1. You can increase the chance of success for your resolutions by altering your surroundings. If you want to lose weight, for example, eliminate tempting foods from your house. Or, don’t go to places that may induce old behaviors. And if you want to increase exercise, don’t retreat to your cave after work, but head right for the spa. 2. Changing your behavior is the most direct approach to create results. When wanting to quit, for example, it doesn’t matter whether you think about smoking, or dream of chocolate chip cookies when on a diet. What counts in terms of your results, is what you do. Following through with a different choice often enough eventually forms a new habit. By then, the new behavior has become so ingrained, it will seem automatic.
3. Self-expectation predicts your outcome. If you are convinced that change is hard, it probably will be. What would you need to believe in order to succeed?
4. Change at the identity level tends to be the longest lasting. When an old habit no longer fits your self-image, you outgrow it more quickly. Calling yourself a “non-smoker”, or an ex-anything, still defines you in terms of the behavior you are trying to avoid. To make change stick, choose a new identity: one that spells out what you want – like being a “healthy person.”
Last but not least, how do your resolutions fit in with the rest of your life, and the people you share it with? Is what you are intending in conflict with other aspects of your life? Your life has a delicate ecology of interdependence. When you change any part of the whole picture, everything else gets impacted – for better or for worse. It is wise to spend a moment reflecting on the intricate web of connections in your life: you with you, your family, work and environment. Creating harmony and flow paves the way to making your goals for 2017 a success.
Karin H. Leonard is known for her compassionate, leading-edge and highly effective brand called InnerEvolution™, leading to quick results in life and career, while creating greater life-balance. She has been in private practice in Santa Cruz for 27 years, integrating life coaching with hypnotherapy, NLP and a good dose of intuition. Office located in Santa Cruz. (831) 724-5400 ~ wwwInnerEvolution.com .
As published in Connection Magazine January 2017