December 19, 2013

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (& How They Can). ~ Laura Erdman-Luntz

What do you want to say about your life one year from today? Can 2014 bring the change you want?

There is something magical about turning the calendar. We are going to change everything and next year is going to be amazing. We will lose our 10 pounds, make our first million and meet the love of our life.

Until January 2nd when reality sets in—our life is just the same as it was in December, except now we need to write a new year on our documents.

As a professional life coach, I specialize in guiding people through major life changes. I know it is possible to make changes and the new year is a great time to do it. We just have to do it in a certain way.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

Don’t set resolutions from a place of frustration.

Do decide what you want and get excited about where you are going.

Often, the desire for change comes from sheer annoyance with a certain area of our lives. We check the mirror and are disgusted by our shape, look in our checkbook and are frustrated by the balance or spend time with our mate and realize the relationship is far from what we want.

While frustration is where most of our desire to change begins, we want to quickly switch over to focusing on what we want because that will fuel our motivation when times get tough.

Stick with me here. When we are working on making changes in our lives, we need to do things differently. We need to change our game. But when the time comes to choose between our old way of doing things and our new way (like eating the healthy snack rather than the junk or getting up early to practice rather than sleeping in), we need to dig deep to keep ourselves on the positive road. We do so by remembering the good stuff, the new place we want to be.

Don’t change everything overnight.

Do start small.

“On January 1st (or Monday morning), I am going to start exercising everyday, cut out all sugar, focus on making more money and [insert your change here].”

We’ve all done it and meant what we said. And do we succeed?

Taking smaller, more sustainable steps is the key to success. Want to start to exercise? Promise yourself to do one session a week. Want to eat better? Change one meal a day. If we think in terms of having the whole year to make changes, we can slowly add, bit by bit, letting each change settle into habit before we add another one.

Don’t forget self-care.

Do take great care of yourself.

Change takes an enormous amount of energy. When we are making changes in our lives, Creating new habits and stepping into our new way of being can be exhausting.

We need more sleep, more down-time, better foods, more water—you name it. We all need to up our self-care game.

Don’t hang out with the same crowd. (Or maybe do!)

We want everyone around us to support our new behavior. Sometimes that means we need to let go of old relationships or at least limit our interaction with them, so we can hang out with people who represent where we are going, not where we have been.

Don’t forget where you’re going!

Do remember why you are doing what you do!

These thoughts will fuel us when the decision to do the “right” thing in any moment gets tough. This step is huge for moving forward. The more we can remind ourselves of why we are doing what we are doing, the easier it is for us to keep moving forward.

Here are a few more ideas:

> Vision Boards—images that represent where we are going.

> Keep images closer at hand. Place them in your journal or use them as wallpaper on your phone or computer.

> “Remembories”—a word my young daughter used when she meant “memory”—something you wear that reminds you of your work. A special bracelet or a watch on the wrong wrist can keep us conscious rather than falling mindlessly into our old ways.

Let’s make 2014 the year we stick to our resolutions and accomplish our goals!

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Editor: Michelle Margaret

Image: elephant journal Archive

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Laura Erdman-Luntz