Resolutions abound as we all wake up on this New Year’s Day morning. People around the world have resolved to make changes that start today. But where did it all begin? According to “How Stuff Works”:
The origin of making New Year’s resolutions rests with the Babylonians, who reportedly made promises to the gods in hopes they’d earn good favor in the coming year. They often resolved to get out of debt [source: History]. Sounds familiar? Many of us are still making that resolution today.https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/why-make-new-years-resolutions1.htm
Resolutions are alive and well today. Whom those resolutions or promises are made to has expanded beyond the gods. Most of our resolutions are made as a boast of what we intend to do, with the only promise being to ourselves. Resolutions are strong in the first few weeks of every year, and then, as the year marches on, we forget all that we resolved. Letting ourselves down is easier than letting other people down, which is why one of the best ways to stick to your resolutions is to create accountability with someone else.
Regardless of the history and accountability, you are likely to spend today resolving to do things you have not mastered. As you contemplate those resolutions, you might ask yourself, “Why Now?” and then, “Now What?” Spending a few moments contemplating these two questions can narrow down a lofty list to a few worthy resolutions, choosing quality versus quantity in finalizing your list. Once you have resolved your list, the final question is, “How now?” How do you make your resolutions stick?
Why do you want to resolve or set a resolution to do Fill in the Blank now? If you have previously made this resolution, ask, “Why again?” It is essential to explore and understand the resolution that will allow the intention to be set and change to be made. Asking “Why Now?” is key to understanding if the timing is right and why the result will differ from previous intentions.
Once you set the intention, the resolution is made. Now what? Ultimately to resolve to do something that you were not doing previously requires a change in behavior, routine, and habit. Humans are “creatures of habit.” Our lives are habits built from inherent routines. Routines significantly reduce stress by allowing a “cruise control” to move throughout the day. To change those routines is uncomfortable. It is exhilarating when we consider the potential that lies before us, however daunting when having to make the actual change, interrupting our routines. Are you ready for the discomfort and prepared to rally through it?
Once you have resolved the “Why now?” and the “Now what?” you must commit to “How now?” you will determine the intention. How are you going to make a resolution stick? How do you find room in your current routines? How do you make the change stick? This process is cyclical, and as you determine the “How now,” you may very well go back to the top of asking, “Why now?”
This process is straightforward to move through and will assist in decluttering the list of resolutions and current routines.
Next up, Reality Enters and Resolve Departs
I recently wrote a blog post called “Tell Me What To Do,” where I explore the search for Best Practices that give us a framework for doing what others have successfully done. While we are a society of fearless independent people begrudgingly being told what to do, we actually like to be told what to do!!! Additionally, we like to be told what to do because we want to know our expectations of ourselves. One search on Pinterest or Etsy yields hundreds of premade checklists that, for a small price, will tell us what to do on any subject matter.
While writing “Tell Me What To Do,” I explored my own resolutions and attempted to set up a daily and weekly schedule to give room for each of these new resolutions. Writing the list of resolutions is mildly satisfying, much like a To Do List. However, these are just lists until you can find the time to do what you have resolved. To move from list to resolve, I attempted to schedule my resolutions on my calendar, but it became clear that this was not as easy as I might have resolved. 🙂 I would give up the everyday items on “my list” to make room for the new. This became an entirely new effort that inspired a blog post and continues to be a struggle.
It is one of many reasons that New Year’s Resolutions don’t stick. To add something to your life, you must consider what you are giving up. When considering our New Year’s Resolutions, we are so consumed in the “addition” or “removal” of something we resolve that we forget to consider the opposing resolve. Examples include:
- The #1 resolution – LOSING WEIGHT! We all want to lose weight after three months of eating Halloween candy, Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas goodies! While we resolve that we will lose those extra pounds, do we resolve to make the time to plan our meals, work out, and embrace the feeling of deprivation?
- FINANCIAL GOALS – We are again coming off of three of the most expensive months of the year. We are ripe to recover our finances, pay off credit cards and stop frivolous spending. Timing is great for those expecting bonuses and tax returns. Once the relief of initial financial restraint wears off, how do we stay motivated to curb spending and continue our pay-off efforts without the windfalls of cash?
- DIGITAL or SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK – Couldn’t we all use a break from our tech? However, are you willing to give up the connection that feeds our need to be a part of something greater than our reality? Are you ready to turn off the email that acts as a To Do list, turn off the social that makes us “feel” better or worse about our own lives, and turn off the feed that reads like a salacious tabloid?
The New Year is a great place to start anew. So is a Monday, the first day of a month, and the first month of a new quarter. However, we mustn’t forget that we are also blessed with a sunrise every morning that gives us a fresh start, a clean slate, and a place to be grateful for a new day.
Take the time today to join the energy of a world resolved to start or stop something for the betterment of their lives and all of ours. Spend a few minutes more to contemplate your why, what, and how as you make a promise to yourself. A promise that should not be taken lightly, for when you let yourself down, you diminish your self-worth.
Resolve today how you will carry on tomorrow. Make the promise to yourself, whatever it may be, and put at the top of your list a “Resolve to keep the promise to yourself first.” You are worth it. You are enough. You are resolved. L.