You hear it every year about this time—all the chatter about New Year’s Resolutions, and lots of jokes about how people give up on those resolutions two weeks into the year. Now people talk about how they don’t believe in resolutions. Or how they believe change can come anytime during the year. And it’s true. Change can come anytime of the year. But New Year’s Resolutions don’t have to be meaningless. There is nothing wrong with making resolutions, but if you want to get serious and keep them year round, it can be helpful to think of resolutions as commitments instead. A commitment is a promise or pledge you make to yourself and it can boost your determination if you think of your resolutions as commitments. You wouldn’t let down a spouse, family member or friend with commitments you make to them, so why let yourself down?
The New Year ahead can be a powerful motivator because it is a new beginning. It’s a clean slate where you don’t have to look back on the year behind you or what you did or didn’t do. You can just look ahead and make commitments to change. Here are some ways you can boost your commitment to your goals in 2013.
Realize making resolutions doesn’t equal taking action. Are you one of those people who loves the planning stage? It’s great to be organized and plan out your goals and action steps, but it’s not enough to just plan. It’s great to get excited as you map out your goals and think of what you hope to achieve but don’t get stuck in the planning phase. Setting your goals alone isn’t enough. List your action steps for each of the goals or commitments you intend to make for 2013, but when it’s January 1, 2013 it’s time to take action. Over-planning or too much goal-setting without action is just procrastinating. I work with people who tell me, “I have the best of intensions, I map it all out but it just never comes to fruition.” You know what I say to that, “The best way to get something done is to begin!” Procrastination is self-sabotage. We all have excuses and reasons why we can’t begin. So, my advice for 2013 – JUMP IN HEAD FIRST!
Practice discipline. You can’t expect to wake up overnight and have rock solid willpower. Sticking to commitments comes from doing what you say you are going to do over and over again. The more times you follow through on what you say you are going to do, the more self-trust you build and the more discipline you will acquire. Most people don’t feel too favorably about themselves when they don’t do what they say they are going to do—so following through becomes a promise that improves how you feel about yourself each time you successfully practice discipline. I try to remind myself and my kids that self-respect is the root of discipline. What have you done today to make you feel proud? Ask yourself this every day.
Disconnect from temporary emotions and go on automatic pilot. Commitment can often mean doing what you know you should do even when you don’t feel like it. You can’t expect to wake up every day and feel like charging forward with your goals. Decide ahead of time to work on your goals daily even when you don’t feel like it. Realize ahead of time that you will have good days and bad days and don’t let those temporary states change the commitments you are making to your health. Ever notice when you follow through with a workout on those days you’d rather skip, that you feel even more energized and accomplished for sticking with it once it’s over? Just considering for a moment how great you will feel after the workout can give you the energy to stick with it on those days when it’s more of a challenge. That’s why I love group fitness. There are many days where I am not “feeling it but I have to show up and teach. Once I start the music and we start moving it feels great. Many of my members tell me the same thing. They love taking fitness classes because someone is telling them what to do and creating the workout for them. Before they know it, it’s DONE!
Get clarity. Only make a few commitments and make them simple and clear. Don’t complicate your year ahead by taking on too many promises all at once. When you are overwhelmed, you won’t make progress. Make fewer than five commitments for 2013 and be crystal clear on what they are. If you want to lose weight, decide your goal weight. If you want to gain muscle decide how—strength training class, a new workout DVD, free weights or all three—and decide how often. If you want to stress less in the year ahead and do yoga once a week, commit to it. Be clear on the commitments you want to make for 2013. View your commitments as your 2013 promises to yourself. Be true to your word and consistently have your actions reflect those commitments.
I look forward to spending more time with you in 2013 and helping you get on the fast track to change.
“A decision is made with the brain. A commitment is made with the heart. Therefore, a commitment is much deeper and more binding than a decision.” – Nido Qubein