This is Part 2 in a two-part series about making and keeping New Year’s resolutions. You can read Part 1, “I Resolve Again, and Again” here.
- Be honest with yourself. What change do you seek and why is it necessary at this time? What character strengths and weaknesses will help or hurt your chances for success? If you have tried to make this change in the past, why didn’t it work before? What can you do differently this time?
- Look deeper. What is really driving your habits? Is there an old story that needs telling? Are you angry, sad, hurt, frustrated, lonely? Use a journal to record your feelings of loss and joy as you slowly let go of old habits and make way for the new.
- Create opportunities for healing. Forgive yourself and be kind. It’s not easy to let go of familiar dependencies and habitual ways of doing things.
- Embrace awkwardness. Give yourself permission to stumble and fall and find your feet. It’s okay to be a beginner. You don’t have to excel at everything.
- Be realistic. Don’t over-promise. Don’t over-reach. You’ll only set yourself up to fail.
- Set the bar low. Reasonable expectations lead to success. Leave yourself with feelings of anticipation for the next time. Better to feel you could do more than demoralize yourself by struggling to keep up with a goal always beyond your reach.
- Think sustainability. Aim for flexible consistency rather than taking a rigid dogmatic approach—unless that level of discipline really nourishes you. Otherwise, your resistance will rear up to frustrate and undermine your progress.
- Plan for setbacks. What excuses do you usually make just before you give up on yourself? How will you take care of yourself when you feel frustrated and want to quit?
- Be patient. You need to say yes more than once to your dreams. When you mess up, figure out what went wrong, learn from the experience, and try again.
- Ask for help. It takes a village, or at the very least a mentor, teacher, or best friend. Don’t try to go it alone. Give yourself the gift of support as part of your plan for success.
- Find the joy. Find the balance between challenge and comfort. Hard work and joy. Create new ways to celebrate your progress as small successes lead to larger ones.
- Be creative. Find your own way. There is more than one avenue to reaching a goal. Remain flexible. Try out alternatives and discover what works for you.
Intrigued? Want to learn more about making and sustaining meaningful change in your life?