"Do you know where your New Year Resolution is?"
That is an often asked question in the days and months that follow the new year. Statistics show that the majority of resolution-makers eventually abandon their pursuits. During the past five years, as I have studied and practiced what works and what doesn't work, I have encountered scores of passionate people who do persist day-after-day. I coined the word 'Resolutionista' for these folks and the 'resolve' they patiently display: Resolutionistas make resolutions, keep resolutions and enjoy the journey! Borrowing on my years as a working journalist, I am running an inspirational series of interviews with ordinary folks who do extraordinary things. They breathe life into their dreams, resolutions and daily goals, one small step at a time, one day at a time over the long haul. Though they may statistically be in the minority of resolution-makers (the ones who succeed), I want to highlight 'what works', and give them credit for their accomplishments!
I discovered Amanda Wyler, a self-employed Nashville, Tennessee Graphic Artist and Creative Consultant, in my travels across the Internet in search of folks who make and keep their resolutions. Amanda is a twenty-something musician-turned-designer who believes her purpose in life is to do just that. Whether it is through music, art, design, or even blogging, she says she strives to encourage others and make this world a little brighter, one smile at a time. Amanda's latest venture is her Blog, 'Amanda Lives Well', which celebrates her 70-pound weight loss and focuses on living a balanced lifestyle. Amanda says her favorite quote is by German Composer, Robert Schumann: "To send light into the darkness of men's hearts - such is the duty of the artist." [UPDATE: Read Amanda's 2009 Year End Essay.]
1. Kim Simpson: Do you make New Year Resolutions, or use another method of consistently achieving your dreams and fulfilling your passions, day-to-day?
Amanda Wyler: My resolutions always seem to start around the New Year whether that is intentional or not. My birthday also falls at the end of the year, so self-reflection around that time comes very natural. It is a prefect season to reflect on the past year's successes and failures and appreciate each of them for the lessons they taught me. From there, I set new resolutions and set in motion a "plan of action." That's the most important part: following through.
2. Kim Simpson: What is your primary passion? Is it a lifelong passion, or a more recent interest? What is the focus of your current goal(s)?
Amanda Wyler: Art in all its forms has been a lifelong passion of mine. About two years ago, a huge dream of mine to begin working for myself as a Graphic Designer came true when I went out on my own. Realizing goals can be scary, but I find pushing through fear is waht makes you grow as a person. A newfound passion of mine is health and nutrition . . . and cooking! My current goal is to continue educating myself and discover ways of integrating new fruits and vegetbables (and exercises!) in my life. I tend to get bored if I stick in the same routine for a long period of time, so I am striving to continually keep things fresh.
3. Kim Simpson: What key techniques, or strategies, do you attribute to your success in making your dreams, resolutions and daily goals a reality?
Amanda Wyler: You must first and foremost have faith in yourself that you CAN do whatever you set out to do. Also, no goal is too small - you have to start somewhere! I think it is really important to break down bigger goals into much smaller ones. They won't seem near as intimidating and before you know it, by tackling all the small goals, you will have achieved the big goal in the process. Accountability is also important. When I first set out to lose weight, I voiced my goals to my family and best friends. Their support and encouragement made all the difference.
4. Kim Simpson: What are your primary obstacles and how do you overcome them?
Amanda Wyler: In my business, I occasionally fall victim to comparing myself to other designers. Then I remember that everyone is unique with their own skill-sets and talents. I just have to keep reminding myself of that and strive to do the very best job I can. In my journey to better health, obstacles are everywhere! The important thing is to remember that deprivation will get you nowhere. Moderation and balance is the key. And planning ahead! Lots and lots of planning.
5. Kim Simpson: How do you stay motivated, enthusiastic and on track with your plans?
Amanda Wyler: I am a self-proclaimed computer geek, so blogging has been a great tool for me. I love the interactivity and exchange of ideas with users being able to leave comments on my Blog and being able to visit other Blogs and leave comments on theirs. Even tweeing back and forth on Twitter . . . it is a whole underground support system that I had no idea even existed.
6. Kim Simpson: How do you keep yourself accountable?
Amanda Wyler: Again, blogging is great for this! In fact, that is why I started Amanda Lives Well in the first place. I began my weight-loss journey on SparkPeople.Com and gained a really firm foundation of knowledge and support there. At my 50-pound loss, I decided I wanted to start a Blog when I reached my 100-pound loss goal. But later I thought, "why wait?" I am still 30-pounds shy of my original goal, but between the tracking tools of SparkPeople.Com and the support of my fellow bloggers, I am confident I will get there.
7. Kim Simpson: Do you think resolution-setters would achieve more success if they focused on their passions - things that they enjoy - rather than a list of bad habits?
Amanda Wyler: ABSOLUTELY. A list of bad habits will only get you down. And who knows? Focusing on the good might make one forget about the bad in the process.
8. Kim Simpson: Does pursuing a passion (dream/resolution) bring a sense of joy, accomplishment and reward?
Amanda Wyler: Pursuing a passion certainly brings excitement. I always feel a sense of purpose and direction when I embark on a new resolution and I find joy in that. For me though, the accomplishment and reward comes only after reaching a goal.
9. Kim Simpson: What is your most significant achievement, and/or most memorable outcome of the journey so far?
Amanda Wyler: I have several! This year, 2009 has been a wild ride and I have loved every minute of it. The progress I have made in bettering my health has completely transformed not just my image, but all areas of my life. My confidence has skyrocketed and I am more willing to take chances and own leadership. I was nominated for 'Nashville's Top Under 30' this past summer and I have become the lead designer for the Nashville Junior Chamber. This journey has made me really appreciate life and the people in it.
10. Kim Simpson: Any advice for someone who is thinking about pursuing a dream?
Amanda Wyler: Life is short! Whether personally or professionally, figure out what you love to do and do it. One of my favorite quotes by Henry David Thoreau says, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've always imagined." Write that on a post-it and stick it somewhere you'll read it every day. Believe and have faith in yourself. Your resolution is attainable!
Remember: I Resolve To . . . Achieve My New Year Resolutions, One Resolution, One Day At A Time For One Year. It's your choice. Do it today. Turn your resolution into reality in five simple, common sense steps: Dare To Dream, Decide, Define, Develop A Plan, and Do It Daily. Make your resolution a permanent Lifetime Resolution, something that's with you for good! Above all, Be A Resolutionista, someone who makes resolutions, keeps resolutions, and enjoys the journey! Let's Go For It!
Need More Inspiration? Wear Your Resolution By Visiting The I Resolve To . . . Shop At CafePress: I Resolve To . . . Resolutionista Gear And By Joining The Official I Resolve To . . . Group At Gather.Com. Are you ready to get moving? Complete my new I Resolve To . . . Worsheet and make the I Resolve To . . . Promise: I Resolve To . . . Worsheet & Promise. There are 53 days left between today and the New Year . . . that is plenty of time to get the fire burning and momentum churning in a forward trajectory toward dreams, resolutions and daily goals!
Kim M. Simpson - November 9, 2009
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