Keeping Resolutions
by Mary J. Lore

     
   

It's about that time when we begin to break the resolutions we made at the beginning of the year. For many of us, this happens year after year and some of us have gotten to the point where we don't even bother to make resolutions. This gentle reminder offers some guidance to help you reformulate your resolutions in order to keep them.

Unfortunately, most of us have trained ourselves not to be happy until a goal has been reached. We create a state of perfection that we have defined in our minds, although it may not be what is realistic for our day-to-day reality. Then we judge and criticize ourselves when we have strayed from our goal. At the end of the day we take stock of the weight we didn't lose, the things we ate that were bad for us, the cigarettes we smoked that we shouldn't have, the exercise we didn't do, the time we didn't spend with our family etc. We do not feel the power of any sense of accomplishment because if we are not exercising five times each week, for example, then we have not achieved our goal. We feel badly. After a few days of this, we believe we have failed. We lose momentum. When we are in states of blame, judgment, criticism and negativity, it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish what is significant and of value to us. We begin a downward spiral and there goes the resolution.

We can re-frame our resolutions in terms of what we really want.

It is key to remember to focus on what we want, not what we don't want or can't have. We can first ask ourselves "What does quitting smoking or losing weight bring me?" And let's say the answer is health. We can instead resolve health or, even better, vibrant health. And this is where it gets interesting. When we can imagine and feel the power of the vision of being vibrantly healthy - that's when we become inspired. And when we are inspired, we get the creative ideas of how we can begin living the vision of health.

We can take a step further in self-awareness to discover the essence of what we really want. We can keep asking the question "What does this bring me?" until we are completely satisfied with our answers and we get to the essence, the clarity, of what we really want. We may discover that we want health and vitality or that we want to enjoy activities with our kids and have plenty of energy. We may want to look great in a swimsuit. We may want to feel good about ourselves. We may want to glow. In the process of refining our resolutions, we begin to feel inspired.

Let's say, in this process, for example, you discover that you don't really want to quit smoking and that smoking brings you peace and inspires you? In this instance, ask yourself what smoking brings you. You may discover that it gives you the opportunity to re-center yourself or to reflect, to have some quiet time, to get outside, to connect with friends, etc. You may then discover that it is not smoking that brings you these valuable opportunities - it is taking a break that does.

By discovering the essence of what we really want, we re-discover our selves and what is true to us. It is when we are true to ourselves that we become inspired. Often times our resolutions are based on what we think we are supposed to do or have to do or should do, which is not what we truly want.

So take a look at your resolutions and see how you can re-frame them to reflect what you want. Then say them out loud several times and notice how you feel. Keep saying them out loud and making adjustments to the resolutions until they are truly yours, until you feel, "This is me, this is possible, this is my new story."

We can re-frame our action plan to accomplish what we want.

Let's look at the resolutions to quit smoking or to lose weight. The resolutions themselves are focused on what I don't want - smoking and excess weight. And, as I face each day, I am focused on not smoking or not eating bad foods. I notice all of the cigarettes or food I can't have and I notice the cigarettes or bad food I did have. And it's torture. Naturally, I'm not perfect and end up berating myself for the cigarettes and bad food I did have and for my lack of will power. Now I'm a failure. I am not in a state of joy or gratitude or vision and possibility. The downward spiral begins.

I can resolve health. However, it may not be enough to resolve health. Just resolving health can be overwhelming. Without a definition of health, I can feel that health is unattainable. Or it can be underwhelming - if I don't know what it means it's hard to feel motivated to do anything. So first I must define to my self what health means to me. If I have decided that being healthy means making good eating choices, exercising regularly and having peace of mind, then I can make a list of foods I want to eat, exercises I like to do (and maybe it's just walking) and what I can do that brings me peace. Then I am ready to create my NOW moments of health. And I can ask myself some powerful questions that bring me answers that move me toward health.

What can I eat right now that's healthy? What exercise can I do today? What can I do that brings me peace in this moment? What one day each week can I eat healthy? (Then I'm 1/7 of the way there!) What one meal can I eat each day that's healthy? (Then I'm 1/3 of the way there!) Or I can make Monday exercise day and Tuesday is healthy eating day and Wednesday is peace of mind day (and then I'm half way there!)

Focus on the NOW

You may remember from the Managing Thought Intensive™ that there is no such thing as the future, that the future is an illusion. What we do have is a NOW followed by a NOW followed by a whole lot of NOWs. We do not suddenly become bankrupt. We have a series of bankrupt NOW moments. We do not suddenly become a great leader or a great parent or healthy. We have a series of great leader or great parent or healthy NOW moments. And it's the same with accomplishing a goal or fulfilling a resolution. It doesn't suddenly happen. It's a series of NOW moments and the resolution is fulfilled when we have achieved a critical mass of these NOW moments!

So at the end of the week, when we take stock of how we did, it doesn't matter that we didn't exercise five times. It does matter that we exercised once. That is a NOW moment to be recognized and celebrated toward our goal. It does not matter that we smoked or ate bad things today. It does matter that we are aware of the choices and that we made one or more healthy choices. It's the slow gradual changes that are lasting and I invite everyone to make just one small change each week. These very small NOW changes each week add up to big changes over a year and significant change for a lifetime.

We can choose to be aware of our thoughts - our feelings, attitudes, emotions, beliefs, passion and purpose - because these are what drive our actions and behavior and ability to devise creative ways to fulfill our resolutions. I am not talking about developing "rah-rah" motivational resolutions. While the changes I am sharing with you are subtle, they are powerful. I am talking about being aware of our thoughts and feelings and making subtle changes that result in resolutions and ultimately actions that bring us peace and inspire us. We become inspired when we are in a state of joy and gratitude and in a state of hope, vision and possibility. In these states, we are in tune with our higher awareness and in touch with our creativity. It is when we are inspired that we achieve significant results. It is when we are inspired that we transform.

Continued success!

     
   
     
   

The Author

Mary Lore Managing Thought

Mary Lore founded Managing Thought LLC in 2002 to help individuals, organizations, leaders and their management teams develop self-awareness and change their way of life and how they conduct business to attain long-lasting success. She is an internationally recognized leader, public speaker and executive mentor. For additional information, keynotes and workshops please visit www.managingthought.com/ .

     
   
     
   
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