How to STICK to your New Year's Resolutions
Posted on January 23, 2012 by Rebecca Macfarlane, One of Thousands of Business Coaches on Noomii.
A new spin on how to stick to those New Year's resolutions you made a few weeks ago. (Hint: The solution isn't trying harder!)
Resolutions are not my thing. I know, I know…as a coach and former strategic planner and project manager, I should really not admit to such an aversion to this ritualistic setting of goals at the beginning of January. But we all have our shortcomings, right?
It’s true, resolutions and I do not get along. I instead like to spend a bit of time on New Years day taking a long walk, and reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned from the year gone by. For some reason, just thinking about what I’ve learned inspires me to make changes and get focused on being a better me. It works much better for me than setting unrealistic goals that I have no hope of achieving – particularly as there is still Chex Mix and Christmas chocolate lurking in my pantry!
This year, I had a unique opportunity given to me to do a bit more soul searching than I usually do on New Year’s Day. My husband and I were on a transcontinental flight on New Year’s Day this year, having completed our first trip back to the UK since moving to the USA in 2011. And if there was any doubt that I should skip my usual New Year’s Day ritual, the universe sent me a clear message that this was a priority this year by putting us on a plane for 8.5 hours with NO in-flight entertainment whatsoever. (AUUGGHH!)
So I did a lot of thinking!
This time last year, my husband and I were still only beginning our journey to our life in the USA. We had both told our respective employers we’d be leaving “soon”, announced our departure to friends and family, and….that was about it. Our house was up for sale, but we had no visa, nothing was packed, we had no jobs to go to when we arrived, and no plane tickets. It was all, very much, still just a dream.
And here we are now, settled happily in our own place which we love, with new careers that we are thriving in, and a huge amount of milestones under our belts. We are very, very grateful for all the gifts we’ve been given over the past year, so it was very clear to me, as I thought about our journey so far and all we still have ahead of us, that my lesson for 2011 is one of GRATITUDE.
It is amazing how a moment of gratitude can shift things. When you chose to be grateful, it can absolutely change your life. As I sat on that plane and thought about all the things I still want to achieve, it was overwhelming and quite anxiety-producing. But the moment I allowed gratitude to take over my thoughts, my anxiety went away. It brought me comfort that all is just as it should be, and I know I can complete this journey because, wow…look how far I’ve come already!
And as I identified this important lesson for me for 2011, I then applied it to how I want to live my life in 2012. I want to remain in that wonderful, light, joyful space of gratitude.
Changing your mindset to one of gratitude makes a great counter for all the negativity we encounter in our lives. It helps us maintain balance, and arms us against the blows life can sometimes bring. Be thankful for the lesson life is teaching you, for the opportunity to grow and be true to yourself. Gratitude puts us in touch with our true, positive selves. We are meant to feel this way all the time! And there is always something to be grateful for, even if it is just our breath each day.
So my tip for you, if you are struggling to maintain your lofty New Year’s Resolutions by now, is to get in touch with your sense of gratitude. This will put in the right space to find your successes, and be good to yourself as you try to move towards your goals. Make gratitude part of your day, and let it inspire you towards more positive actions in your life. Use a journal, talk to a coach, pray, meditate…whatever works for you.
Gratitude is the secret to happiness, and it is also the secret to really sticking to your goals. Be grateful for the journey so far, whatever it has been and wherever you are going. And I can promise you, if you can stay in this mindset, 2012 is going to be an AMAZING year for you, too!
A Gratitude Exercise:
To reconnect with a space of gratitude, think about a time when you felt a deep sense of it. Remember the sights and sounds when you felt really, truly grateful for something. Notice how you felt, notice the physical changes in your body when you remember this time. Remember what you were doing in your life when you were feeling grateful for this thing. Then connect with what you are grateful for right now.