Five things to think about before you set a New Year’s Resolution

I love a fresh start. I love the potential and possibilities that January 1st brings. Before you set your new year’s resolutions for 2016, think about these five things to set yourself up for sustainable success that lasts past February.

  1. Reflect on 2015. Nobody likes doing this but it’s a valuable first step. Take a look back at and ask yourself what worked. Before you think about what you want to change and improve on, you’ll want to get yourself in the mindset of success. Take stock of your victories, your successes, the areas of your life where you feel confident and satisfied. Appreciate what you have created. These are going to take a back seat while you focus your energy on your new resolution.
  2. Despite what corporate america will tell you, you can only have one priority at a time. It’s the definition of priority. If you want to make your resolution successful, this will require focus, energy, and determination. If you have a competing priority like “making children happy” and they cry and cling when it’s time to go to the gym, you won’t go. Check for competing priorities and make sure you are willing to prioritize the new one.
  3. Your success is determined on your willingness to be uncomfortable. Change will create discomfort. Expect and plan for it, but remember you are choosing JOY over pleasure. Pleasure is immediate gratification, comfort, sameness.  Joy is growth, challenge, play, novelty. Joy is a proud and satisfied feeling that comes from purposefully living the life we are meant to live. Are you prepared joy over pleasure?
  4. Check your motivation. The only reason anyone does anything is because they want to feel a certain way, or they are trying to avoid a certain feeling. When you imagine accomplishing your new resolution, what is the feeling you imagine you would feel? What thoughts can you think NOW that will create that feeling for you?  When you motivate yourself with negative thoughts and emotions, “I’m so fat and ugly I need to diet so I’ll be thinner and then I’ll be happier” It is never sustainable. You can do it for a little while, but eventually you will rebel against your inner mean girl. Or you will lose the weight and realize you still aren’t happy because you’ve beat yourself into submission. Focus on the feeling you want to feel and start finding ways to feel it now, today, separate from your goal.
  5. Creating change involves growing a different side of yourself. When growth is your goal, you cannot fail. Prepare for obstacles and plan how you will overcome them. Remember to praise yourself for your learning and victories. We aren’t meant to stay the same. We are meant to learn and challenge ourselves to grow, all throughout our lives. When you can focus your attention, prioritize growth, feel positive emotions, then the action is it’s own reward.