The New Year is traditionally the time to commit to new projects and affirm new habits (or lose old ones!). People everywhere make resolutions they want to keep-but do they? Not usually. The second tradition of the New Year is to break the resolutions just made a few weeks ago! Still, you can achieve your dreams. Following these two steps can bring you to New Year resolution success.
First, examine the resolution itself. The most popular resolutions, every year, are to quit smoking and lose weight. These are great ideas, but ideas are not goals. Break up your wishes into measurable steps leading to that wish; for instance, making a complete list of the reasons why you smoke by January 15th, or creating a chart listing the pros and cons of five weight loss programs by January 31st. Having a reasonable thing to do with a date to be finished by will help you succeed-and successfully crossing the first hurdle will encourage you to succeed more.
Second, imagine yourself in the place you want to be. Picture yourself wearing the outfit you don’t think you look good in yet-and looking fabulous. Close your eyes and see yourself inside, relaxed and calm, watching smokers huddle outside in the rain and cold looking miserably addicted. Conjure up an image of a clean desk, an uncluttered house, being happy at a job you love; hold that image in your mind and revisit it frequently. Create a positive longing for what you want and remove the comfort from what you’re doing.
Finally, repeat these two steps over and over until you have reached your ultimate goal. Did you finish your list by January 15th? Now create a chart comparing stop-smoking programs by January 31st. Then picture yourself breathing deeply every day, enjoying your pink, healthy lungs. Once you complete the chart you can decide to set a quit date by February 10th and decide on your quitting program by the second Monday of the month. When you reach that quit day, you will have racked up an impressive list of successes that will help carry you through to your final goal. You will also have created a healthy picture of yourself that will replace the old mental image you carry around with you.
Let’s say you have your chart of weight-loss programs finalized. Set a goal to pick your program within two weeks, then picture yourself pulling your belt one more notch in-not out. If you want to exercise more this year, set a goal to take the stairs at work or park farther away from the store or just to get outside every day for half an hour, doing anything. Imagine your body working like a well-conditioned machine while you jog or swim or play volleyball; imagine how much you will enjoy it!
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Continue to set measurable, reachable goals and combine them with visualizing your new life. These two steps will allow you to commit to resolutions and reach your goals. Your New Year can bring you a New You-just the way you want it to!