We all love a fresh start. The new year is a great time to take stock of where we are in our lives and set some goals. Research shows that forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but only a stunning eight percent fulfill them. Twenty-five percent don’t even make it past the first week. Let’s face it, we are creatures of habit and stuck in our ways. It’s easier to envision our goals than it is to reach them. Sustainable transformation happens through a combination of inspired intention, resonant action and dedicated practice.
Here are six steps to help you set the right resolution, stick to your guns and find lasting success:
1. Setting the right intention.
Dig deeper. What do you REALLY want for yourself? It is easy to confuse what we want for ourselves with what others want for us, or even what we think others want for us. Make sure you are setting an intention that resonates with you at a deep level. Spend some time in undistracted solitude. Take a walk in the woods, sit on a meditation cushion, get out your journal. Peel back the layers of perception until you reach a place that feels deeply authentic. You’ll probably feel it in your belly. Set an intention from that place.
2. Don’t make it about what you are going to DO, but who you get to BE.
Instead of this: I will not eat junk food.
Make it this: I am a person who takes care of her body with healthy food and makes fitness a priority.
3. Name three things you need to say “no” and “yes” to so that this can happen.
Like this: I say NO to the belief that food can make me feel better.
And this: I say YES to finding healthy ways to feel emotionally fulfilled.
4. Make it measurable.
Instead of this: I will lose 15 pounds.
Make it this: If I lose 5 pounds by March 1, I will know I am showing up as the person I want to be.
5. Build a supporting structure.
Our resolutions are usually about changing one aspect of our lives. But our lives are built on a complex and historical network of cause and effect. When we shift one piece, it can upset other pieces. In the chaos, old patterns and coping mechanisms might show up and “act out.” Anticipating and preparing for this will help you stay focused and empowered. For instance, if you are trying to stop emotional eating, find a practice that satisfies you and staves off emotional hunger.
6. Stay on the horse.
Faltering doesn’t mean you have fallen off the horse. Be committed, but don’t be too hard on yourself. If you experience a setback, let it be an isolated experience. Put it in a bubble and blow it away. It doesn’t change the landscape of the new you.