Tired of New Year’s Resolutions? What to do Instead!

Written by Briana Cavanaugh

January 1, 2013

Seems like everyone is making some wild New Year’s resolutions right now. I’m watching people go for everything from weight loss and exercise to financial goals or this year being the year for love! More clients! More money! More security! Better relationships!… and on and on.

And every year I watch people fail at those goals and feel bad about themselves in the

What possibilities exist if you give yourself permission to open a new door?

What possibilities exist if you give yourself permission to open a new door?

process. It’s disappointing and in fact reduces your drive to meet future goals when you set yourself up to fail. I want you to be successful, so I thought I’d give you an idea of what to do instead.

Several years ago I realized that New Year’s resolutions are a bust and I (perhaps ironically) resolved to stop making resolutions! At first it really was just a way to stop the madness crazy new year weight loss schemes and after Christmas sales!

Soon after that I realized that change still needs to happen, but it’s rare that all my change needs to happens at the holidays! (Unless it’s that resolution to eat less fruitcake!) Arbitrary times just don’t work for making long-term, sustainable change. Instead I vowed to make changes when I realized that change needed to happen and leave New Year’s for reflection.

That has given me the permission I needed to make change any time that I see something big looming on the horizon. It’s also gives me permission to not make big changes in December when my work is at its peak and holiday craziness is everywhere. Trying to make too many changes at once or without support is really just a set up for failure.

What to do instead?
Instead I spend some time early in the year contemplating what worked and what didn’t work this year. Then I choose themes I want to run through this year. Sometimes I write out a whole vision of the coming year with specific goals, dreams, and intentions.

Then I narrow it down. I choose up to three words that really contain the essence of what it important to me. I write it down in at least 2 places: one for my wallet and one I hang on my bulletin board next to my desk where I will see it regularly.

I use those words as a touchstone through out the year.  When I feel stranded or have strayed from my vision I repeat my phrase and come back to myself. Those words help remember my focus and get back on track.

Last year I chose clarity, presence, and dance! I danced more last year than I have in the last 7 years combined! And I have more clarity about my work than I’ve ever had! It’s been a pretty amazing process.

This approach has several advantages. They include:

  • A holistic and supportive approach to change making.
  •  It includes a vision of what I really want and not just what I don’t want.
  • And it creates a built in way of coming back to focus without negative self talk.

No matter what you do, I’d love to hear about it!

Happy New Year!

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