Here are three tips on how to keep your resolutions this year … and a heartfelt desire that this be the best year ever for you and your family.
Here’s how to set and keep your resolution — I double dog dare you to try it!
You will likely be hesitant to go against the grain of typical goalsetting advice here. Avoid deciding quicky. Don’t shut yourself off. Just consider the possibility and the logic of trying a different approach.
1. Pick the main area of your life that needs work this year.
What most needs to advance for you? Think broadly at this point. Forget the hogwash about setting a specific goal. Right now, anything is possible. Don’t shackle yourself. Don’t limit yourself.
The old saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is both true and untrue. Like the acorn seed, the power that provides abundant life is within you, but you’re still growing. You’re still learning. Whether you’re 17 or 70, you are not yet fully grown. It may be the season for the fruit you seek is just around the corner.
Still round the corner there may waitJ.R.R. Tolkien
A new road or a secret gate . . .
Begin by casting a wide net, but in a specific direction.
Here are some examples
Off the top of your head, create a category-type list of what you want and need. You are looking at categories of your life, not at the obstacles or any other aspect of yourself than this: What would most help me do what I know I need to do in the coming year?
- I want to get healthier
- I want to get out of debt
- I want to find my soulmate
Extra special note: Few of us would include “a deeper spiritual walk” on that list without stopping to think first. Spiritual things are surprising. The Spirit is always there in the background as a mostly silent witness. When we stop to reflect, though, we see that our Creator is behind all that we have and are. A deeper spiritual walk should have been the first thing we thought of … though it seldom is. Welcome to the human race.
2. Create a brief statement about one overall move you can make to advance in that direction.
What sort of “redirection” needs to happen in your life? Where are you your own worst enemy?
Don’t worry about “Why?” right now … focus on what needs to change in your own life (and definitely avoid thinking it is your job to change somebody else).
I’m convinced that our problem is normally not that we don’t know what to do. The thing most often stopping us is that we don’t do what we know.
You know what needs to change in your life. Stop running from it, trying to ignore it, blaming it on someone or something else.
It’s time to stop and face it — time to stop and face yourself.
Do you need to lose weight? Earn more money? Deal with loneliness? What is most begging for your attention? Check in with yourself.
Be especially watchful for outcomes that would topple other obstacles and lead to desired changes in your life. Look for ways to stack the potential benefits.
Here are some examples
- I need to lose weight
- I need to save money
- I need to to find a friend (not necessarily a romance)
Write your statement by hand on an index card (preferred) or write it digitally on a computer document (like The Someday Plan) you visit every day. Do it any way you like it. Make a wall poster or use it for wallpaper … what is something you really, truly, absolutely need to do?
Note that “need” is stronger than want. Our wants tell us something about our desires, but are needs are what sustain us and keep us in motion.
As we progress in Someday Plan work we look closely at those needs. Some of them may not be helpful. Some may need to be challenged and transformed or discarded. For now, though, measure your statement with just one yardstick: Will reaching this ambition help me and will it help me help others?
3. Your resolution is to read your statement daily and take even a small action in that direction.
FIRST: If you decide to follow this simple system and resolve that you will read a sentence or two about something critical to your life and then take even a tiny step in that direction, do you think you could do it for 365 days in a row?
I think you could. And so do your mom and daughter and anyone else who knows and loves you. You could even convince yourself if you’d allow a little self-kindness in. There is yet hope, and you are not alone.
The specific daily actions you choose are your goals — and they will change throughout the year. Count any move in their direction as accomplishment. Life is “a cinch by the inch, but hard by the yard.”
If your action today is to take a walk in nature, for example, and all you do is put your walking shoes on and step outside the door … you’re a winner!
BIG NOTE: I am not trying to give away first place ribbons to losers here. The point is that if you even recall who you are and what you are doing, then head in a deliberately determined healthy and thoughtful direction even an inch … you are ahead of the pack. You are no longer a “wandering generality” as Zig Ziglar used to say. Choose your life firmly. Pay attention to your own growth if you would help others pay better attention to theirs.
Here are examples of small wins
Reading your brief statement is the first part of every daily action. Taking a step in support of it is the next. That is part of The Someday Plan (click here to get on the list for the book in progress and access to the platform), but you don’t have to wait to get started.
Nothing says you can’t do more, move ahead quicker, or even decide to switch directions entirely. The main thing is that you know which way you want to go and that you check your compass and stay on bearing daily.
If I need to lose weight: I decide that avoiding processed foods and sugar is important to my health, so I chose a bag of granny smith apples over a dozen donuts at the grocery store.
If I need to save money: I check my bank online and move two percent of the current personal checking account balance to personal savings.
If I need to find a friend: I begin a list of my interests, especially of things I would like to learn more about. Then I search online for each topic to see if there are local clubs or meetups of folks with similar interests.
The point is that you don’t need to hit your perfect weight, become a millionaire overnight, or meet the love of your life today to feel that you’re on track and have a sense of direction. Life without purpose is lackluster at best. Choose your destination and embark. If you later decide you’d rather go somewhere else, change directions. It’s your life.
Take the wheel.
The once popular country western song, “Jesus Take the Wheel,” expressed a truth: God has ultimate control. But it seems our Creator has given us freedom of choice. Ask for direction, no doubt, but don’t take your eyes off the road.
LISTEN: Don’t think choosing your direction instead of a specific goal will weaken your ability to make and keep resolutions. To break through the barrier in front of you, it is necessary to head in the right direction. The goals/tasks/actions you use to support your resolution will necessarily proceed from there and will consistently move you towards your ambition.
I triple dog dare you to try this resolution-setting and resolution-keeping method. Healthy actions are like eating chips. Once you get started, it’s tough to stop. Like the magic of compound interest, daily remembrance and determined action will provide bigger return on your investment than your occasional large deposits.
Does this resolution-making system make sense? Stick with the direction and change up the goals as needed to stay on track. Do comment to let me know whether you are going to give this method a whirl … and how it is working for you.