RESOLUTION PROBLEM: *Generic, open-ended statements* - As the graphic on this blog shows, usually people will choose resolutions like "lose weight," "quit smoking," and "become debt-free." All well and good, but what these resolutions fail to address are the details, the specifics, which are crucial to goal-setting and eventual success in completion.
You see, it's not enough to openly state an intention and just expect it to manifest without action or any cooperation on your part to see it through. The reason goals fail is usually because they fail to specify these details. When you fail to plan the follow-through, what you will normally see as a result is, "hey, it's November, and instead of losing weight, I've gained 5 pounds at Thanksgiving Break, and my gym membership has seen a month's worth of log-ins." Then you cram to get those 5 pounds shed, and adding 1 extra pound of loss, you will have technically completed your goal. But where are you, really? Now you've paid for a gym membership that has been virtually wasted, and you're looking at another year of yet another vague resolution.
RESOLUTION SOLUTION TIP #1: *Define resolution using specific details - how, when, why, where?* - It's fine to want to prioritize losing weight this year, but here is what you need to define: *how* will I lose this weight? *what* will I change in my life to be successful at this endeavor? *how much* weight will I plan to lose? *when* will I have completed this weight loss? Fix this now, while the resolution is still fresh in your mind. A more reasonable resolution along this vein would be: "I will take 30-minute walks at night, 3 times a week, and use a calorie-counter app on my phone to manage my caloric intake (goal: 1800 cals per day), with the intention to lose 15 pounds this year. By December 31st, 2013, I will weigh 135 lbs. or less, and will have made walking a regular part of my schedule." Do you see the difference? In this goal-related statement, you have addressed the how, the how much, the when, and the what. This statement can be easily modified to fit your lifestyle preferences and goal you want to accomplish. It is up to YOU (yes: you - the responsible one) to do the research needed to fill in the blanks of *HOW* you will accomplish this goal.
RESOLUTION SOLUTION TIP #2: *Create reminders, bug yourself* - No, I'm not encouraging you to nag yourself; chances are you have a mother gung ho to do that for you already. I'm asking you to hold yourself accountable by prioritizing your resolution by having it constantly on your mind. How do we do that? Any way that works for you! Something that works for a lot of women is to tape mantras or encouraging messages in places they will see it constantly - the bathroom mirror, the fridge, the answering machine, the dashboard, etc. Men tend to dip into their wallets throughout the day - so why not give yourself a reminder on your debit card, checkbook, or taped to cash? This trick won't work for everybody, but for those who are finding themselves consistently using the "I forgot" excuse, this may be one to try. It's easy to go through your day and get caught up in everything, so by the time it's 10 PM and you're ready to relax or hit the sack, you can easily excuse yourself for not working out - you'll do it tomorrow, right? But if, throughout your day, no matter how much activity you have going on, you see reminders to yourself "have you run today?" posted on your keyboard, "did you drink your protein shake today?" posted on your cabinet, then you're more likely to trigger the habit. Use reminders until whatever you want to accomplish becomes so ingrained in your daily schedule you no longer need them. Eventually, with enough work, this will occur naturally. If taking a 2-mile run is your goal, then you will find yourself making excuses for another priority, with time; maybe finishing the Sports section in the newspaper isn't as important anymore, because you're too busy going for a run. Now, you've got the hang of it.
RESOLUTION SOLUTION TIP #3: *Visualize your accomplishments* - My personal favorite trick of manifestation is to use visualization. I accomplish this in two major ways: my vision board and my visualization meditations. Do you have a vision board? If so, you may not need to be reminded of the many ways a vision board helps to create. But you may want to review this anyway. If not, why not have some fun with the rest of us? If you're not having fun with your imagination, chances are you won't generate enough good energy to manifest, so it really does pay to daydream! There are many sources on the Internet to teach you how to create your vision board or look at others for ideas, but it's important that this be your own. You're not trying to make a carbon copy of someone else's dreams. This is all about you. My own personal vision board is in sight when I work, as it hangs just at eye level above my computer at my desk. Half of it is a write-on board, and half is a corkboard. The write-on half is something I write my yearly goals on (very specific ones!) every December 31 before midnight. It's become a ritual of mine. Throughout the year, as I accomplish my goals, I cross them off and give verbal and written thanks for my dreams coming true. I can't tell you how fulfilling it is, come December, to see everything ticked off, even if the board looks a mess! It's a personal message to myself saying look at how much I made happen this year. The corkboard is filled with pinned-up photos and mantras that are somehow important to me in my goals. There are photos of places I wish to travel to soon, inspiring images, and quotes or statements that I have found particularly useful to me. It doesn't take long to put a vision board together, but it can really make the difference in your manifesting.
Visualizing through meditation is equally important, if not moreso. I make sure to take the time nearly every day to really imagine my goals as accomplished, to feel what it (would) feel like to have something in particular, and to give thanks in advance. Again, the process of visualizing effectively can be researched to your heart's content, but I'd suggest reading a book like _Wishes Fulfilled_ by Dr. Wayne Dyer, or an Abraham-Hicks publication, perhaps _Ask and It Is Given_ as a starter. Both go into great detail about using visualization practices to manifest your dreams.
(Side note: this is something that my clients and I go over on a personal basis, through counseling!)
RESOLUTION SOLUTION TIP #4: *Schedule it in - make time for your dreams!* - Buy yourself a daily planner, invest in a big write-in desk calendar, an app on your phone, or anything else that is most useful to you to schedule your appointments. Dole out mini-goals monthly, weekly, and daily, if need be. One thing I like to do is make a generalized "I'd like to be here ____" statement for the month, then parcel out tasks by week or day during that month to get me where I want to be. For instance, my personal February goal statement is to get started on a new fitness endeavor - Wing Chung. But I know it's not good enough to say to myself, I want to have started my Wing Chung practice this coming month. No, I need to task it out in pieces. So, in my personal planner, I have carved out time in my schedule 3 time per week to practice. Because it's important to me, I have *made* the time for it, and since I look at my calendar(s) on a daily basis, I am constantly aware of what's ahead for me that day, that week. To me, this is enough of a reminder (I don't need to nag myself, but I am practiced - it's OK not to be yet). I have chosen days to practice martial arts that aren't bogged down with 100 other activities - in other words, they are days that my toddler is at school, days my Insanity fitness workouts are more laid-back or on break, and I don't have outside appointments to crowd my time. I have planned for this goal to be accomplished so I know I will not fail myself. It really is that easy!
RESOLUTION SOLUTION TIP #5: *Reward yourself when accomplishment has been met* - Whether it be incremental accomplishments or the finalization of the bigger goal, you need to provide yourself with motivating rewards. Gratitude is enough for some people - to me, I am happy crossing things off my "bucket list" - I get intense satisfaction from a checkmark, a strikethrough, and a "thank you - done!" statement. Others need treats, and that is great! Whatever works. So if your goal is to stop smoking, and you have done the legwork listed above, and you have gone say, 10 days, without a cigarette, then by all means, treat yourself. Have you saved $20 in that 10-day period by not buying packs of cigarettes? Consider using that $20 to buy something on your "want" list (not "need") that shows off your accomplishment. A new shirt you've been admiring, a 30-minute massage, a dinner out at your favorite restaurant. Whatever is good for you that makes you happy and marks the occasion will work. So that next time you hit a milestone, you know you can look forward to another reward. You can plan for these, too. (With the money I would have spent on cigarettes, I am putting it aside in this envelope, and when it reaches $200, I am booking that hotel in Kansas City and spending the weekend away from home). It's up to you to figure out what motivates you to keep going.
RESOLUTION SOLUTION TIP #6: *Repeat: A slip-up does not mean give up!* - It's human nature; sometimes we just fall short of our own expectations. It's nothing to beat yourself up over. And if you fall off the horse, the only thing that's unacceptable is to continue to lie there on the ground and be consumed. Trite as it sounds, you have to pick yourself back up and get back on that horse. OK, so you were cigarette-free for a month, had an extremely trying day, and reverted back to old habits. Three cigarettes later, you're feeling like a failure, and your throat burns. You're sure your family can smell the defeat from you. Luckily for you, that smell goes away with a good mouthwash and a laundry day. And your failure is only made up by your willingness to persist in your progress. Throw the pack away and start afresh, not tomorrow - right now. You can't take back the mistake; it's in the past. The only thing to do is move forward with increased resolve. So your counter has been reset, but you still have the same chance of success.
If it's been four days since you've last run on the treadmill and you're sitting on the couch eating Doritos watching The Biggest Loser - hey, join the club. :) We've been there, too. Those of us who have become workout fanatics know that you never finish a workout by saying "I wish I hadn't done that." Doesn't happen. You always (always!) feel better for having done it, no matter if it was a 20-minute walk around the neighborhood, or a 90-minute weight-training session with Tony Horton. It's difficult to get started, but just like everything else, once it becomes a habit, it makes you feel better all over. So, no matter what your goal is, no matter what you've done to sabotage yourself, it's never too late to turn it around and get back to work. Come December, you'll thank yourself for staying committed.
The best part of completing your resolutions is looking forward to your next one, knowing you made a promise to yourself, you stuck through it, and you've seen the end result. That sort of power manipulates itself into a desire for more proof that you can do whatever your mind is set on, and more goals emerge. It seems the more we accomplish, the more we desire to accomplish; it is addictive, and a healthy addiction at that! So go have fun with your resolutions, and take control of your life. You'll be so glad you did.