A New Year Plan vs. A Resolution

Resolutions just seem so - solid, immovable, and even a bit frightening. What? Commit to a big life change for a whole year? It can seem so daunting… which is why about 80% of new year’s resolutions fail by February (according to Business Insider). And yet, as a society, many of us commit, resolve ourselves, and guilt ourselves into huge commitments over and over again. Only to fail, give up, and feel even more guilty.

Are you ready for a new plan in a new way?

Well, I know I am sure ready for a different way to approach staying committed to health, my friends and family, and my creative endeavors and dreams.

I have also come to a point in my life where I no longer have any fantasy’s about goals. If I want to get from A to Z in my health, finances, relationships, career goals, etc… there will need to be effort and some sweat equity put into the process. But that doesn’t mean it needs to feel impossible or not fun.

On top of being an intuitive and helping people feel their way through life choices, relationships, and visions of a fulfilled life; I am also a certified life coach. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about helping people commit to some big goals, it’s chunking them down into bit sized goals, and learning how to morph the process to fit their personality. The same would go for all of us.

As we embark on this process together, please do not just try to copy someone else’s goals or commitments or harken back to the days of being a kid and hearing your parent’s voice telling you how to get something done.

Find your own way to get some enjoyment out of your plan for the new year. “How,” you may be asking, well let’s just see…

Same goals, different perspective

How many have you have a health-related goals you want to accomplish this year? Maybe it’s to reach a certain weight? Maybe you want to exercise more? Maybe you just want to eat less processed and healthier foods?

Since health is usually high on people’s list, let’s examine how a common goal might look different and might morph depending on your personality. I’ll start with a common approach followed by a suggested new perspective.

  • Resolute Way (Health): I will lose 30 pounds this year. Wow, that seems like a lot. I am going to have to exercise everyday and start slashing calories. But deep down inside this really sucks and I don’t want to do this. This seems hard. OK, Karen, stop whining and suck it up and just do it. A few weeks later and a handful of gym visits later. I can’t do this. I don’t even know why I tried. Ooh, that Mocha latte looks amazing. I will snuggle up next to a few these to get over the pain and the shame. Sound familiar? Here’s a flip on that flop…

  • Fun Plan Way (Health): My doctor has recommended that I lose thirty pounds. That’s good to know, but i won’t focus on that number. Instead I think I could figure out a way to lose 1 pound per week. That seems doable and not so huge. But I own’t get started right away. I am going to research different diets and eating habits. I want to find one that still suits my personality but will give me results without having to struggle so much. I also know I need to get my body moving more. But this time I won’t commit to a gym membership or go out and buy a bike or exercise equipment. I’ll start walking and then see how I feel or if I want to start running. I can also check into some yoga or karate classes I have always been interested in. Hey, most of them offer a free introductory class! I should try that before just jumping in and committing to something! I also want to ask my best friend to keep checking in with me every week to help remind me that I am really committed to my health this year.

Did you see or notice a difference between the resolute/rules-based approach vs. a bit ore open fun plan way? And what about, financial resolutions? That is also a huge area that people focus on (especially around budgeting and saving money). Here’s how those situations may look:

  • Resolute Way (Finances): [Carol speaking to herself]: Oh, Carol! You racked up more credit card debt again. Why won’t you ever learn to live within your means? Well, I guess it’s back to eating crackers and noodles until you pay off that credit card debt. I guess I’ll have to tell the girls that I won’t be able to go on that Caribbean Cruise next fall. Oh God, how do I keep getting myself into this mess? Well, no use crying over spilled milk. I will start by returning a few gifts and then really ratcheting down on my budget. Maybe I could have everything paid off before next fall? A few weeks later: Ugh. paying off the thousands of dollars I owe just seems too much. I don’t even want to look at the bill anymore. Little things keep cropping up. My car needed some work. Those shoes were on sale, right? I gotta have my three coffees everyday at Starbucks. Plus the girls convinced me to take the seven day cruise. Ugh, how will I ever get out of debt, I’m so out of control. I don’t even want to think about this anymore… so I won’t…

  • Fun Plan Way (Finances): OK. So I realized I relied on the credit card too much last year. I want to be healthier around money and I want to be out of debt before the end of the year. No matter what (fun or not) I will need to set aside $X per month to pay it off and I only want to use it in an emergency. I think I will give the card to my best friend. I will need to go to her if I need to buy something and it better be a good reason. In the meantime, i get to play around with my budget. I’ve known for a while that i am doing things too loosey-goosey. i have no idea what I am spending my money on. I think I’ll get one of those budget programs and load my bank and credit card info into it and see what I am doing. This could be fun, right? OK, maybe it’s not entirely fun but now I am at least informed. Geez, I had no idea how much money I spent eating out. Plus I never bring lunch in to work. I think I could combine wanting to cook more with cutting down on eating out. Please I want to eat healthier so this is a two for one! Ooh. This can help me with my diet and my finances!

OK. So maybe dealing with finance is not always going to be fun, but looking at it from a different perspective vs. I need to lock my finances down and now my life feels so small is a sure-fire way of need meeting a goal. Are you starting to see the power of flipping perspective around?

Summing it up

Goal planning and working towards achieving your goal doesn’t have to be filled with stale rules or must’s. Sure there will always be work and maybe some “musts” buried within any plan or path to achieving a goal, but quite honestly we want to trick our minds into thinking we aren’t climbing a mountain when in fact we are. The power of the mind is amazing. If we tell it we are are climbing a mountain and we have no oxygen, the body will start to respond. If we keep telling ourselves that the climb is fun, healthy, and will make us feel better than chances are we will keep going. The mind is sharp though. It will keep trying to flip around and convince us that what we are doing is hard and impossible. We need to constantly keep reprogramming our mind to STOP (stop thinking things are hard and won’t work) to tricking it into having fun and enjoying the journey along the way!