I am not big on new year resolutions per se. Don’t get me wrong—setting goals, creating a plan of action, and taking concrete steps toward achieving your goals is a good thing. And it is a tried and true system for successfully effecting change.
My problem with resolutions is that most people approach January 1st as a trigger that will magically empower them with unwavering motivation and self-discipline to quit smoking, go from couch potato to super human at warp speed, or arrive at some other lofty destination without laying down a solid foundation for change or for dealing with the challenges along the way.
Either way, you will need motivation and self-discipline, but without knowing where you are headed or having a plan to get there and an emergency preparedness plan for the bumps in the road, your motivation and self-discipline will soon drain out into the ethers and you will once again be back on the couch using your stomach as a TV tray table. I mean seriously, if you don’t think ahead to pack the spare tire, you will have a much bigger problem to solve when you get a flat. And eventually you will get a flat.
Then there's your feelings. Huh? Yep, your feelings. If you want to shrink your body size from a Mack Truck to a Mini Coop, your goal weight is arbitrary compared with how you believe this change in stature will make you feel—from self-conscious and self-loathing to proud, confident, and sexy? Now that’s two totally opposite states of existence. Are you truly ready to be on the other side?
I ask because there’s a story behind your desire to change, to be different than you are now. It will help you immensely if you can identify that story and put it front and center so you know exactly what you are dealing with. And the story isn’t just about the end result; it’s about your beliefs around why you are in the position you are in and the reasons you are not where you want to be. Your feelings and beliefs are intricately woven in and around these stories. They prop you up, and they mask your fears and insecurities. They define who you are. And they manifest your physical reality.
Do you believe that Norm Peterson (Cheers barfly) would feel comfortable if he woke up one morning looking like James Bond? No, he would still be the same guy on the inside with the same thoughts and insecurities; he would not feel comfortable in his new skin. (I mean, how awkward would that be for Norm to be suave and debonair?!) Rather than embrace the new reality, he would likely sprint back to his cozy spot at the bar, his familiar comfort zone.
The point I am getting at is that making significant personal change is a process, one that requires planning, personal action, self-reflection, flexibility, and integration. It is personal. It is challenging. And, it is rewarding.
I hope you found the content of this post insightful. I will be providing strategies to help you every step of the way in your 2015 “self-improvement adventure” so keep your eyes peeled for future posts. Thank you for reading!
Here’s to you becoming the best you that you can be in 2015!
Yours in health and well-being,