Make Resolutions. Keep Resolutions.
Enjoy The Journey . . .
A wonderful New Year is upon us. That magical time in which we are given a blank page on which we can write the next chapter in our lives. We are given the gift of time, 365 days in which we can shape and mold our ideas into something tangible and real. Are you ready to take a look back at what you accomplished and a look forward at the wonderful possibilities? Are you ready to make the new year better than the previous year? If you really want to make and keep a New Year resolution don't delay until the last minute. Don't make a hasty, champagne-induced list on the back of a cocktail napkin at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve. Start planning in advance of the New Year. Begin dreaming and brainstorming about what you would love to achieve, create, experience, be, learn, do, feel, see, or have! That said, it is important to keep in mind you can 'resolve' virtually any day of the year. The New Year is a wonderful symbolic spring board, but if you have a dream that you are ready to pursue, do it when you are ready at any time during the calendar year!
At the outset, clarity of thought and purpose will enable you to take a dream from start to finish, turn a resolution into reality and make a goal happen. When you know 'what you want to achieve', 'why you want to achieve it', and 'how you're going to achieve it', it takes the guess work out of daily activities. Brainstorming and planning are vitally important 'first steps' if you want to achieve a dream, replace a bad habit with a good one, learn something new, create, or achieve something. When you have a dream, a plan, and a process by which you can systematically approach your daily activities (AKA Daily Resolves) anything is possible!
As a starting point, consider the I Resolve To . . . Formula For Success. It is a simple, common sense way to begin the process: Start with a cherished dream, one in which you have enormous desire and interest. Turn that dream into a specific, one-sentence resolution that clearly states your intention. Make that resolution a reality with daily goals - Daily Resolves - that can be achieved one at a time, one day at a time.
I Resolve To . . . Formula For Success:
Dream + One Sentence Resolution + Daily Resolves (Small Goals) = Success, Achievement & Reward!
I advocate pursuing one resolution, one day at a time for one year, because it has worked so well for me, year after year. Throughout my life I have made dreams and resolutions a reality by following this simple, common sense approach. I long ago made a commitment, a promise to myself, to stop smoking, exercise regularly, write, build a business (and work primarily from home), excel at photography, earn college degrees, and own a home (with a garden and pool). Those are just a few of my dreams, my Lifetime Resolutions. I don't believe in making resolutions and checking them off my list. I make them and keep them with me for good.
A key to my success is that I pursue just one life-changing dream, and make just one major resolution at a time. To do otherwise is a recipe for quick failure. Our lives are packed full of activities as it is, it is no wonder that we don't have ambition or energy to tackle a long list of changes that we think we 'should make' because that's what folks do in the New Year. It is not surprising that most people abandon their Resolution list - diet, exercise, save, eliminate debt, stop smoking, stop drinking - after days, or weeks. The list exists, but the passion, commitment, and desire is sorely lacking. Personally I believe the most popular resolutions are great ways to improve lives, but without true heartfelt desire for change, and a willingness to work hard day after day, a resolution is nothing more than an empty promise.
This year can be different, but you must have the desire and committment to make it so. Don't abandon the practice of making New Year Resolutions. Instead change the paradigm! Think outside the box. Don't be afraid to color with a red crayon instead of the same blue one you always use. Be a Resolution Revolutionary: Change the way you think about and approach dreams, resolutions and goals. Keep it simple and realistic. Use common sense. Consider my I Resolve To . . . Formula For Success, then follow the I Resolve To . . . System For Success. The Do's and Don'ts are easy to use, easy to understand, and great for busy people (all born from common sense and my personal experiences with dreams, resolutions and Daily Resolves/goals).
I Resolve To . . . System For Success - The Do's:
- Dare To Dream: Open your mind and consider all the wonderful possibilities. Find a quiet spot where you can relax and daydream with your journal. Make a list of the 100 things that you would truly love to do, be, see, feel, create, experience, learn, achieve, and have while you are here on earth - your Lifetime Resolution List. Focus like a laser on the one dream that most inspires you, makes you excited and nervous at the same time. Focus on the one that you will want to pursue day after day, the one that would make you happy, fulfilled, joyful, and proud. Bottom Line: Do what you love. Love what you do!
- Decide: Make a firm decision, a personal commitment, a promise to yourself to pursue that dream today; and to make it a Lifetime Resolution that is with you for good. Why fulfill a dream, then check it off your list? Why not achieve it, keep it with you, and enjoy it for life! Achieve it, then take it to the next level. Use what you have learned to inspire and invigorate you - to launch you toward achieving new dreams, resolutions and Daiy Resolves (goals).
- Define: Turn that dream into a specific, positive, proactive one-sentence resolution that provides clarity of purpose. For instance my own favorite resolution: "I Resolve To exercise for 30-minutes daily by walking, working out with weights, swimming, stretching, doing light Yoga, gardening, and biking, so that I can maintain my my ideal weight (i.e. 125 pounds), be fit and toned (i.e. look good in my clothes, and feel good about myself), be healthy (i.e. maintain normal cholesterol and blood pressure), and maintain a good mood and positive outlook."
- Develop A Plan: Do your homework. Learn all you can about the 'who, what, when, where, why, and how' of your dream, then turn that knowledge into written short and long-range action plans that include daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals, timelines, and milestones, along with a system of making course corrections, and rewarding victories. Keep a Daily Resolution Diary and do Daily and Weekly Check-Ins. A blog, spiral notebooks, journal, day book calendar, and wall calendar are wonderful tools for maintaining a written record of your journey and keeping yourself accountable (I use colorful foil stars and stickers to mark my daily victories!). Your plan is a living document that will grow and change as you grow, learn and change. You must be committed and decisive, but flexible. Tasks always take longer than anticipated and obstacles often sprout like dandelions on a Spring day. Be willing to start over and over, learn your lessons and move forward with a revised plan and new tactics.
- Do It Daily!: Each and every day take one small step - achieve at least one Daily Resolve (small goal) - that will enable you to make your dream, your resolution a reality. Try to devote at least 30-minutes each day to your dream. If you devote just 30-minutes each day to your dream that adds up like compound interest on money in the bank to 7.5 full 24-hour days in one year! Even if you only have minutes to spare, small chunks of time do add up. Tell your friends and family and enlist their support. Find buddies who can make the journey with you. Seek out a mentor who can provide advice. Join a club or take a class to learn new things that will lend motivation and inspiration to your quest. Wear your resolution on your shirt, and plant a post-it on your computer, your mirror, your refrigerator - anyplace that will provide frequent reminders and help you to keep your dream, resolution and Daily Resolves front and center every day.
As you plot your course, don't forget to identify, then plan for obstacles - all the many things that can go wrong, or will stand in the way of progress, including obstacles of your own making like pessimism, procrastination, a bad attitude, lack of faith, hope, determination, and an unwillingness to work hard.
I Resolve To . . . System For Success - The Don'ts:
- Procrastinate: Put an end to the 'Someday, Someday, Someday Syndrome'. Do It Today. Stop waiting for tomorrow. Take action, one small step today, another one tomorrow, and another one the next day. Get rid of the guilt caused by doing nothing. The smallest steps can energize you and build lasting momentum. Sometimes 'just showing up' is all you need to do. If regular weekly exercise is your resolution, get off the couch, put on your tennis shoes and head out the door for a walk, or your favorite form of exercise. If you are a writer fire up the computer and write the next page in your novel. Your best effort may surface on the days you feel least motivated. Get busy right now!
- Give Into Fear Of Success Or Fear Of Failure: Embrace your fears and your mistakes. Understand them, learn from them, and own them, so you can overcome them and move forward with confidence. As I mentioned, obstacles will appear like dandelions on a Spring day at times. Identify the potential obstacles in advance, and prepare for them. Knowledge is power and it will help you to move past your obstacles and fears. Don't sabotage yourself by self-limiting behaviors. A little daily introspection can go a long way. Think about what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you are getting in your own way, figure out a way around. Don't live passively. Don't sleepwalk through your day. Be conscious of your actions. Make conscious choices rather than passive, easy choices (meditation is a wonderful way to promote mindfulness)!
- Get Overwhelmed Or Discouraged: Give yourself the gift of time to achieve your dream and make your resolution a reality with small Daily Resolves. Pursue your resolution one small step - one Daily Resolve - one day at a time for one year. There will be many days in which you are 'Overtaken By Events - OBE'. That's a common part of life. If you have a rough day today, know tomorrow is right around the corner. Flexibility and a willingness to adapt will enable you to roll with the punches, and change and improve your long and short range action plans. Patience, passion and persistence will get you through those bleak, rough days. Know when it is time to lower the bar just a little and reduce expectations. When you are feeling down, pull out your journal and review all your victories. Reward yourself, often, for successes and milestones.
- Grow Bored, Weary Or Burned Out: Set a realistic pace and be realistic about your goals, i.e. what you can actually achieve by a specific date. Remember you don't have to reach the top of the mountain overnight. Novels are not written in a day, college degrees take years to earn, getting in shape takes weeks and months. In short, dreams take time and hard work. That is why it is so important to commit to a resolution that you would absolutely love to achieve. You have to want to spend time working on it each and every day. Your dream needs to become a positive habit in your life - a routine part of your day, something you crave (exercise is one of my healthy cravings). You need 'fire in the belly' to keep the momentum going. As you progress, vary your activities to keep things interesting, take breaks, and be kind to yourself. Activities and tasks often take longer than you would hope or anticipate. Be patient, but persistent!
- Give Up!: Keep written track of your successes - your hard won victories - and use them to fuel the fire of your passion and to motivate yourself on both the good and bad days. Keep your eye on the prize and know in time you will succeed. Faith, hope, and optimism will see you through. If you are feeling pessimistic and hopeless - rather than give up - take a vacation from your dream, resolution and Daily Resolves (small goals). Rest, relax and take care of yourself, but be sure to schedule a specific date to 'restart' and know what your next 10 steps will be when you begin anew.
Personally, I think about my dreams, resolutions and Daily Resolves (small goals) each and every day - 365 days each year. I Resolve To® . . . is my primary dream and resolution because it encompasses my 'Lifetime Resolutions'. My Daily Resolves and the I Resolve To Challenge: 365 Resolutions For Health & Happiness make me happy, keep me challenged and enable me to learn and grow. To make and keep any New Year Resolution, I firmly believe you need make each and every day New Year's Day. You need to view each day as a brand new blank slate - a clean sheet of paper on which you will write that day's story, achieving your dreams with Daily Resolves. Above all, you should work to make each and every day count. If you are committed to your resolution to that degree, your odds of succeeding are far greater than if you and work on it occasionally, an afterthought, rather than a daily priority.
If you are truly serious about 'Making Each And Every Day New Year's Day - Making Each And Every Day Count' - I strongly urge you, again, to chronicle your journey. Write things down every single day. Keep a Daily Resolution Diary. I track my own progress each day in spiral notebooks, journals, and on wall calendars that I receive from charitable organizations that I support, as well as a day book calendar and this blog. Writing things down enables 'Resolutionistas' - those folks who make Resolutions, keep them, and enjoy the journey - to brainstorm and build concrete plans, to chart progress, track milestones, make course corrections, and most importantly to build in rewards for progress and hard won victories. Build a system, a combination of writing tools that works for you and will enable you to stay accountable and on track with your Daily Resolves.
I carry my spiral notebooks and calendars with me in my purse, or work bag. By the end of the year they are tattered and ragged, but they contain such a wealth of information and inspiration. That practice helps to keep my dreams, resolutions and Daily Resolves front and center. When I have a few spare minutes, I pull out my notebook and do some planning. I do Daily Check-Ins both in the morning and evening because they enable me to plan my day and schedule at least 30-minutes, or an hour, into my day specifically for my Daily Resolves. That may not be realistic for everyone. If you can only Check-In a couple times during the week, and once each weekend, that works too. The point is to Check-In frequently, so you can grow your plan, make course corrections, adjust your timeline, and most importantly, devote some time each and every day to your project.
Each weekend, I carve out an hour or two to sit down in a quiet spot with my coffee, notebook and calendar. I spend that time noodling my 'Things To Do Lists', what I achieved that week, and what I plan to achieve - the next steps for the coming week, month and quarter. Planning ahead is another key component of achieving dreams, resolutions and goals. It is not enough to know what you need to do today and tomorrow. You need to know the next 10, 20, 50, 100 daily goals. When you complete those goals, you need to be primed and ready to hit the next 100 in your plan. That level of clarity of thought and purpose instills confidence. There is no question about what you need to do make your dream, resolution and Daily Resolves tangible and real. Knowledge is power!
Why not begin today? Each one of us has dreams. Pull one off your Lifetime Resolution List and 'go for it' today. Make it a priority in your life in weeks and months to come. Rather than live a life of regret for all that you 'did not do', be grateful and happy for all that you have, all that you are, and all that you 'do' in your life.
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: IResolve To . . . Resolutionista Gear And By Joining The Official I Resolve To . . . Group At Gather.Com. Get going on your 2010 New Year Resolutions with the I Resolve To Worksheet & Promise 2011. View my 2009-2011 Health & Happiness Tapestry by clicking through Daily Resolve Photo-Resolutions.
Kim M. Simpson - December 31, 2011
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