Dec 30, 2009

TRULY SPEAKING: Resolving to Keep Your Resolutions (Really)

Summary: Today, we take a look at some of the history of New Year's traditions, like making (not breaking) resolutions. And we measure real ways to make our own resolutions work.

This week's vocabulary word is resolution. And this week (if you're anything like me—and millions of people throughout the world) you'll be making some resolutions of your own. But why do we even participate in this tradition in the first place? Click here to read an article by Goals Guy Gary Ryan Blair on the history of New Year's traditions. Then read on in this post to get a little insight into your own motivations this year!

There's a formula that's tried and true for not only setting resolution-type goals, but also keeping them. And it starts with:

Step #1: Make a resolution that's truly just for YOU. If your neighbor's lawn has looked nicer than yours since the day you've moved in, don't resolve to put in more hours of yard maintenance just to keep up the friendly rivalry. DO resolve to dedicate yourself to creating a lovelier lawn so that you and your family can enjoy the outdoors together. If your motivation comes from without rather than within, it's sure to fizzle out quickly.

Step #2: Think both long-term and short-term. When planning your resolutions, it's okay to write out your long-term goal, like "maintain a healthier lawn" or "lose 30 pounds." But be specific by setting deadlines and designating smaller steps to take, too. "Fertilize this spring and edge the yard with each mow this summer to maintain a healthier lawn" makes for a more realistic and complete goal. The same goes for "meet with the gym's personal trainer this month to establish a program to lose 30 pounds by year's end." (You'll know how realistic your specific goals are by the way they make you feel: If you feel energetically sapped or otherwise negative just thinking about them, you definitely need to rethink your goals—as well as your motivation for setting them. If, however, you feel motivated after reading your new resolutions, you're on the right track!)

Step #3: Accept yourself where you are NOW. Whether you put them down in writing, record them vocally or just keep them in your head, this goes from the moment you start drafting your resolutions to each and every step along the path to meeting them—or resolving them, you might say. You can't make change if you don't admit your starting point. Likewise, you can't keep momentum going to exact that desired change if you spend all your energy beating yourself up for not being farther ahead than you are.

If you're brave enough, practice your goal-setting here! Don't worry: I'll be joining you on Friday, sharing my list. After all, it doesn't matter whom we tell; only we can keep ourselves accountable.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2009

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