Every year people make resolutions on New Year’s Day. I get it – there’s nothing like a first of a first to make you feel like you’ve got a chance at a fresh start. But how many people actually STICK to those resolutions? How many times have you said “THIS year I will exercise EVERY DAY!” or “THIS year I will give up my addiction to coffee!”? And then within the first couple of weeks you’ve forgotten all about your resolve. Don’t despair! You aren’t alone…….
Resolutions fail for many reasons and a majority of those are not technically your fault. Our subconscious and unconscious decision centers are powerful influencers and it’s rare the person who can will themselves control over them through a resolution. It’s like stating a goal and then assuming that you are going to achieve it in that moment. You have to WORK toward these things!
So instead of a “resolution” I like to choose my Annual Words To Live By. I came up with this idea a few years ago when I was really trying to challenge myself to, well, challenge myself. See, I wanted to come up with a phrase that would challenge me when I was trying to avoid doing that which I knew I should be doing. Challenge me to not just focus on WHY I wanted to work on my goals but also to make sure that whatever I was trying to do INSTEAD of working on those goals was put in its place. For instance, one year I chose “Why not now?”. This forced me to challenge how I was prioritizing things and, if necessary, allowed me the option to defend my decision. I can tell you that I accomplished a lot more than I ever thought I would using this phrase.
Fast forward to this year. After more thinking and reflecting on areas I need to improve I have chosen………..(drum roll please)………. “What am I doing instead?” I realize that an area where I can improve is my time management in terms of juggling things I feel require equal prioritization. It’s not that I want to put off doing something, it’s more that often I want to do many things all at the same time and, hey, I am good, but no one is THAT good!
So now, when I am questioning my choice of prioritization or allowing myself to get immersed in something, I can ask myself “What am I doing instead” of ______________. If it’s legit, I will keep on keeping on. If not I can adjust my priorities with confidence.
Think about this for a minute. What areas do you wish to improve? What word or words would challenge you in a constructive way? What phrase can you say to yourself that will not just be a legitimate question but will be a trigger for you to mindfully consider your choices? Be creative, be authentic, be constructive and choose something that will work for you.
Then the only resolution you have to make is to ask yourself your question or state your words to live by. I guarantee that at the end of the year you will look back and see tangible evidence of how this small shift in your thinking will positively affect your outcomes.
Now go be awesome!