We are now more than a month into the year 2012. And I’m sure many of us started the year with grand plans for self improvement — plans we classified under a paper mache umbrella named “New Years Resolutions,” only to see them dashed by even the slightest downpour of life.
We have peculiar behavior patterns as humans. It is pretty comical when you think about it. We believe that we can work from the outside in. That would be like spreading the icing before we baked the cake! It just doesn’t work like that.
We say to ourselves, “This year’s gonna be different. I’m gonna lose weight, quit drinking and smoking, and get fit!!” We make all the outward preparations. We purchase gym memberships, start a new diet, stop hanging out as much, and start chewing Nicorette.
We are ready to “Do This!” The first week we are gun-ho. Things are feeling good! Week 2…the same. You are thinking, “I got this!” Week 3…a few minor setbacks, but nothing to panic about. Week 4…minor turns major and we are holding on for dear life. By week 5, old patterns have regained our self-fortress and we are left inwardly defeated and disappointed.
The truth is that we knew this would happen, because it did last year and the year before that. And despite all of the hope and optimism a new year might bring, if there is no real desire for change from within, our efforts are futile.
The key is to go through what I call a resolution metamorphosis. This is where we implant resolutions into an open mind and heart, and in time, a beautiful new lifestyle emerges.
Here’s the blueprint:
1. Be Honest With Yourself
Today we live in a society that teaches us that it is totally acceptable to deceive ourselves. This is the number one reason resolutions fail. In life I’ve noticed that when people are truly ready to change they just DO! So ask yourself sincerely and honestly are you ready for the sacrifices that true transformation entails. If the answer is yes, then your halfway there.
2. Keep It Simple
Don’t bombard yourself with resolutions. To many abrupt changes can leave you feeling overwhelmed and at a dead end. Choose one or two of the most important life changes you want to make and focus in on them. In time, with perseverance and dedication, they will blossom into new habits. Once you are over the hump you can start to add on other lifestyle enhancements. And this time it will be easier to overcome them. Remember: One brick at a time!
3. Modify Your Environment
We are often products of our environment. Make the proper adjustments to assure that your current environment nurtures the change you want to be. This part can be difficult because it can mean cutting ties, at least momentarily, with friends, family, and comforts. Sometimes it’s the people closest to us that are our worst enemies when it comes to change. They feel threatened by the shift in tide and their own insecurities don’t want you to change because it will make them think about changes they know they should be making. You must distance yourself. It’s rough, but it’s something that must be done. And the payoff is totally worth it. Fun Bonus: They will thank you in the end.
4. Be Obsessed
Now I’m not talking Glenn Close, Fatal Attraction obsessed. I’m merely saying that it takes that same amount of energy it took to create a bad habit as it does to break it. This is where a healthy obsession comes in handy. Repetition and consistency helps to retrain your brain on a molecular level. The obsession will help see you through rough patches as well. Also your enthusiasm and dedication is likely to inspire others.
5. Focus On The Horizon
Instead of focusing on how hard it is to change your ways, get excited about the new life you are about to create for yourself. Have vision. See yourself with fresh breath because you no longer smoke. See yourself lean, trim, and fit in a new wardrobe. See yourself with more energy and a better social and love life. And once you realize the only things that are keeping you from this are your negative habits that you hate anyway, it easier to find the strength to overcome them.
Make your resolutions your employee, and put them to work, until they become a part of you! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
I wish you all luck in your journey to a “New YOU.”