You may have read that I made a boatload of resolutions for 2014 only to ace a few while forgetting about others completely. Overall, I didn’t do too shabby of a job, but I decided to take a different approach to 2015. Now I’m not going to make 15 resolutions this year – although unlike popular attitude, I don’t think resolutions are all that bad. I see their purpose, a new year comes with it a reason to improve ourselves and our lifestyles. Although, I think the problem is that people treat resolutions as some big lofty goal that people prevent themselves from attaining. Most often the case is people who burn themselves out much before January even ends.
Perhaps the reason so many people fail at resolutions is because they focus on the outcome, rather than the process. There is a saying about life being more about the journey than the destination, well our resolutions should follow suit. Many people focus on losing a certain amount of weight, spending a lesser amount of money, and trying to cut out something entirely from their lives. I’m here to say if you want things to really improve and become a habit rather than a goal you dust off every time the ball drops, then you need to look at things differently. You need to embrace the process of change, rather than the change.
So whether you have a laundry list of resolutions you are hoping to stick to, or just hoping to make each day the best you can, I find that there are certain ways of looking at the process of change to actually enjoy the change and make it stick.
- Take charge
Taking charge is all about getting momentum on your side. Talking the talk is easy, but walking the walk is entering a whole new ballpark we tend to underestimate. I think the key to taking charge comes down believing in yourself and knowing that you can accomplish what you put your mind to. Because simply put you can. It will take work, and maybe falling on your face a few times, but if you have the attitude and mindset of confidence that the behavior will follow suit.
- Make time
Time is a very precious gift that we don’t use as efficiently as we should. And giving yourself time and giving the things you love time are sometimes the first thing we shelve for things we feel obligated to do. But if we never make time for what we need to work at, or what fulfills us, we are never going to improve, nor are we ever going to be fulfilled. When I was doing the spiritual exercises, I made the 10 p.m. hour every night my hour of prayer. No matter what at 10 p.m. I sat down prayed and journaled and the habit became something that was tough to break. Now, with things like trying to get to the gym more and wanting to dedicate more time to reading and writing, I pick out days in the week that work best for going to the gym – for me it’ll be weekends when my schedule is free. For reading, I don’t have a specific hour to push myself to sit and read, but I have been reading one chapter a day of whatever book I’m reading. So time may be a specific hour, or an action you have to get done at some point in the day – however it works for you, give yourself the time to make things happen.
- Appreciate your humanity
Appreciation is something that is so easily forgotten when it comes to embracing change. When we take on something new and different, or something we struggle with and feel insecure about it is hard to feel appreciative. It would be nice just to snap our fingers and have our problems solved, but we are too human for that to work. For me, if I need to work at something I need to appreciate that I am only human. No one writes the perfect story in their first attempt, just like no one can be a start athlete the first time they hit the court or field. Things don’t just come together on the first try, maybe not even the first hundred tries. That’s okay and we need to be appreciative of that. When we understand where we are starting from, only than can we truly appreciate the process and the progress we have the potential to make. And only then are we able to really put that potential into action.
- Find motivation in fear
So many people hate change. Perhaps because it brings with it a certain level of uncertainty. Actually the only thing certain about change is how uncertain it is. However, we can think of all the things that change can leave us without, or we can think of the possibilities it can bring us to. The thing about fear is that if we let it control us we are paralyzed. We don’t move. We don’t change. But if we try to beat it, and even use it as motivation, talking it down from pulling its own trigger on us, then we may just find a whole new world that is incredibly exciting and fascinating. Fear sucks and I have let it stop me way too many times in my life. That’s not to say that I am fearless and will do anything and everything, but I have looked at fear for what it is – a beatable foe. Fear can be beaten and when it is used as a motivating tool, it can almost be a wonderful adversary. When fear still gets to me and makes me almost forget how to breath all I need is a quick moment. I look fear in the eyes and notice that it is only trying to prevent me from something wonderful. Sure, I may not be a meathead gym rat, but that doesn’t mean I should stop myself from getting in shape and looking good. I may not know what my future holds and what a move to the other side of the country would bring, but I know that staying still will only bring me boredom. So address fear right away and don’t let it shoot you down with its fallacies.
- Find the beauty of research
After taking a class in research methods, I’m surprised I’m saying this, but it is true. It never hurts to do a little research and see what’s out there. Whether it is a new health craze, tips and tricks to beat a bad habit or how to create some financial stability, you need to do some research. It feeds into the planning that goes along with taking charge of any change. Doing some research and seeing what is going to be conducive to your personality will only put the odds in your favor. If you hate going to the gym, committing to a 5-day a week training program may not work for you, but testing the waters with different classes may be the trick to get you committed. Not to mention it is a good way of setting up to blueprint for what you want to work on and a good way of easing into that action. Speaking of…
- Ease into it
Jumping full force into a resolution is just setting yourself up for burnout. This isn’t to contradict the “take charge” motto – that is more attitudinal. The “ease in” factor is actually acting on what you want to change. I used to order my coffee triple triple, and a friend was disgusted by my fatty, sugary beverage choice, so I decided to make a change. It has only been through easing into it that I have been able to appreciate decreasing the cream and sugar amounts in my liquid caffeine. Going to the gym 5 days a week may be intimidating at first, but going once or twice a week can build familiarity and comfort. When you are familiar and comfortable it only means you are going to be more likely to carry out what you are hoping to work on.
This may be the most important thing – don’t forget to stop and take a break! There is one thing that college taught me, I am not the Energizer Bunny that can keep going and going and going. There needs to be a chance for yourself to breath. It doesn’t mean you should give yourself a window big enough to fall off the wagon, but it does mean that you shouldn’t burn yourself out either. Give yourself some cushion to relax and you can go into any resolution with a fresh mind, body and spirit!
So as 2015 begins, don’t let the idea of change be intimidating. Instead embrace the change and let the betterment begin!