“More of the same” is not an option for the New Year!
We are a few tick-tocks away from a brand new year. It’s time to take some time to think about if who you are is going to be any different this year. We all want things to be better. However, when we begin to think about the things we’d like to change about ourselves, we don’t want to go there. Some don’t have enough will power to point their thinking in that direction. “You did say ‘CHANGE,’ right?” How can things – or you – be different unless we make a few life-changing choices?
Please, no more resolutions! We must stop the resolution madness. Resolutions don’t work and they leave us feeling worse in the long run, so let’s just quit before we start, shall we? We all know the stats on keeping them. Going into making resolutions already knowing that we are statically not going to keep them is a bad first step in the wrong direction. Those stats are a bad friend.
I would rather talk about new goals in terms of promises. People generally tend to keep promises. A promise means to commit to something you will do in the future; or to commit to something that will happen in the future. Make promises you know you will keep.
If you mess up on this stage, you’re in a heap of trouble. Find a place where you can sit and reflect. Have a pen and paper available, or a tablet device if preferred. Focus on the number one promise you would like to make for the new year.
Only make first-class promises you know you will keep and narrow your list to 2 or 3 things you “feel” you MUST do. Be realistic and specific. It will help to see a list of items on paper to keep your motivation strong. So… write your promises down.
Don’t beat yourself up! Obsessing over an occasional slip-up won’t help you achieve your goal. Do the best you can each day, and take one day at a time.
It is so easy to justify breaking a promise when you are faced with the steps required to keep it (Read the BONUS Article listed below). Failing to keep your promises gives the appearance of being disorganized and irresponsible.
The more you honor your integrity, the more dignity you have. Your promises to yourself must be so important and easily kept that you’ll reach out and grab them every single day – because you want what you’ve promised yourself!
Some have said, “It’s not a broken promise if you never meant to keep it.” That’s why you have to go all in… put your heart into it. Give yourself the respect you deserve by making honest and authentic ones.
If parts of the plan aren’t working, then make alterations. It’s important to never underestimate what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it and when you keep your promises.
Instead of resolutions, let’s also focus on how we want next year to FEEL. You need to have a clear vision about what it will look, feel like, and be like, when you have made the change. Do you believe you can?
By whens are important too. By when = deadline. Don’t make excuses for yourself.
On keeping your word: Keeping your word keeps you energetically healthy and connected to those around us. This in turn makes life easier and more pleasurable.
“Our capacity for joy, creativity, self-love, psychological health, generosity, compassion – all depend on feeling comfortable and deeply connected within ourselves and having a sense of trust in ourselves.” ~ Bronwyn
Put Post-It® notes everywhere to keep your promises in mind daily! Put them on you mirror in the bathroom, of the fridge, on your car’s rear view mirror, in your briefcase, on your desk at work, put reminders of your promises everywhere you might see them. You don’t have to make it a list. I just wrote the word PROMISES or KEEP MY WORD on my Post-It® notes. I tacked a Put Post-It® note to my front door. About every 30 days, post a new Post-It® note in another color. Why? After a period of time you develop a scotoma – a blind spot in an otherwise normal visual field. You still see it but it’s like it’s not even there. Your mind ignores it.
“When you make a promise or commit to do something, keep in mind what you want to achieve. Your goal is what matters, not the promise that helps its completion. Why? Because if you think that the promise is super important and then you break it, you’ll be tempted to abandon the project out of discouragement. When you pay too much attention to promises and not enough to the goal, you’re like a guy that drives staring at the wheel instead of minding the road. Where do you think that ends?” ~ Gaël Blanchemain
Pay attention to self-sabotaging mind chatter, like: “I’m not good enough” or “I don’t think I can do this.” If you find negative thoughts creeping into your thoughts, don’t criticize yourself, just stay in control. Keeping your promises is not about willpower, it’s about the power of your intention. If you relapse, never view yourself as a failure. Rather, become gently curious about the triggers that led to the return of old habits that caused the relapse and continue to develop alternative coping mechanisms.
To be clear, it is much easier to fail to keep a promise you make to yourself because no one but you knows about it. This may help. Appoint an accountability partner. Whether it’s in the form of a professional, a family member, a friend, or some type of formal support group, consider enlisting someone’s help. This must be someone you are close to who will be your support system for the coming year; someone who will hold you accountable for the promises you make to yourself. This should be someone you trust and the only person you share your promises with. Doing this shows that you are not only serious about keeping your promise, but that you realize your own strengths and limitations.
New Year’s Day opens a clean slate, the old year is over, the new year is just beginning. When all is said and done, the New Year still remains a time of celebration. It is a time to reflect on our past, to forgive others and to make amends. It is a time to look forward to our futures and to cherish our families and friends. To everyone everywhere, Happy New Year! May your year be blessed with Peace and Love.
“Spend the next few days preparing for the year ahead: Forgive everyone, let go of everything, let God take charge.” ~ Marianne Williamson
BONUS Article: How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution ~ Pay particular attention to the seven stages of change!
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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