Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year's Resolutions How To- out with the old, in with the new

We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.”  Edith Lovejoy Pierce

The start of a new year is the perfect time to transform our lives by discarding what is no longer useful or helpful to us, be that physical, mental, emotional or spiritual. It's also a great opportunity to embrace the things that will benefit us and make us better human beings. Making those annual 'New Year's resolutions' is a great way of implementing that change, as long as we are realistic and don't berate ourselves at the end of the year for failing to achieve all of our goals. But go ahead and make that list, and keep checking back to reaffirm what it is you want to accomplish during the year, remembering that things can change, and that's okay.

Here are some steps to help you along the way.

1. Determine what you want:  Think about what it is you really want your  life to be, who you want to be. What are your dreams and aspirations?  What would you like to accomplish?  The more passionate you are about it, the more likely it is you will bring about that change.

2. Write them down:  It's important to put it in writing, plus you will have it there for reference throughout the year. Being very specific often helps certain individuals, since it gives them something to work towards. On the other hand being too specific could set you up for failure, so if you are one of those types it's probably best to be a little more ambiguous about the things you want to accomplish. For example, if you'd like to lose some weight or exercise more, rather than giving yourself a specific objective, be more general:  "I want to lose weight" rather than "I want to lose 20 pounds".  Personally, I'd love to lose 10 pounds, but I'd be happy with 5. 

3. Write in the affirmative: When making resolutions or affirmations, it's very important to write in the affirmative rather than the negative. "I want to be more patient with people" is far more powerful than "I no longer wish to be impatient with people." 
4. Visualize achieving your goals: Picture yourself doing or being whatever it is you want to achieve. How does that feel? What does it look like in your mind's eye. Feel the actual emotions of being or doing whatever it is you want to be or do. Act as if.

5. Plan of Action:  You might also want to write down a step by step plan on how you intend to reach your goals. And some of your goals might be interconnected.  Say you want to lose weight and you also want to exercise more, exercising more will be part of the plan to help you lose those extra pounds. If you want to be more loving and generous, detail the ways in which you might do that, and whether that will entail money or actions: by donating to charitable organizations or donating your time to help someone in need. Detailing those plans gets you steps closer to achieving them.  It's like a contract between you and the universe.

Whether you have a few resolutions or a long list, keep in mind that as you travel through the year things could and will change. Be flexible. Some goals might not seem as important and will drop off your list, and you might wind up adding some along the way. 

Remember, you always have each day to regroup and start afresh and the effort is what is most important.

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