Time For Some Resolution ResuscitationFrom
eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource
Like most people, you've probably made a few
resolutions about things to change this year -- tackle some personality quirk,
improve your physical appearance, increase your activity level, improve the way
you relate to others or increase the amount of time you spend with the family.
We get a flash in our brain of the way we could look, the life we could lead or
the time we will have -- bite the bullet and set a goal of saying no or
Unfortunately, studies show that the New Year's
resolution approach to goal-setting -- you get a lightning vision of how things
could be different, decide on a goal based on what you want to get away from
and invoke brute will power to act on it -- rarely lasts. Your good intentions
may even have evaporated already. The change you willed doesn't survive the
first challenge to the smooth deployment of your new routine.
There is a better way. You set the same goal and
make the same changes to your routines. Only they stick, no matter how much
stress you encounter, no matter how many times you are thrown off track by
life's everyday challenges. You are motivated to pick yourself up and work on
that goal -- and you get there.
The difference between doomed resolutions and
sustained change isn't something magical that you lack and everyone else seems
to have. No, it's your relationship to the future, insists Ti Caine, a
hypnotherapist and life coach based in Sherman Oaks, California.
resolution type goal-setting usually involves a one-shot connection to the
future. To create lasting change, on the other hand, you don't tackle change
right off the bat; you first look at where you want to go. You need to build a
complete vision of the future that you want, so you can live with it every day
of the present.
Most resolutions are made out of fear and
desperation; those energies; however, can drive motivation only a few weeks.
The only energy that can sustain success is falling in love with your future.
Like building a house, you start by creating a blueprint of the finished house;
only then can you begin building. You don't just decide to build a house, run
to Home Depot, buy whatever materials are on hand and start building.
Unfortunately, that's how most people build their lives.
"Successful people have an ongoing, passionate
connection to their dreams for the future that keeps them motivated to take the
steps everyday to create what they want," says Caine. They see their
future in its wholeness, visualize its extension into all the domains of their
life. That allows them to create lots of mental paths to it. You make a
commitment to change your whole life; that's what makes Caine's FutureVisioning
process so powerful.
It's like cleaning your house. The fastest
way to get it done is by getting excited about the future, says Caine.
It's easy to clean the house when you've got someplace exciting to go."
- Having a clear vision of a wonderful
future is the first necessary action step -- but it typically stirs up a set of
emotional roadblocks. These come at us in the form of fears -- both of failing
and of succeeding -- and in doubts about our own worthiness for success.
- So, the next critical action step is to
identify your fears and doubts about success, then look under them to uncover
the core beliefs you hold about yourself that are sabotaging your efforts at
change. Earlier articles in the series, archived on the website, can help you
through the process.
- Then you are ready to map out the path.
You define the sequence of bite-sized steps that make the difference between
here and what you want. Starting on the first one, you look at the resources
and strategies that can be developed to help fix that particular circumstance.
(You can find worksheets to help with the full change process at
Imagine a future three years from now,
where you have achieved the success you want and everything in your life is
working the way you want it to be. Visualize all the domains of your life:
physical, emotional, financial, career, relationship, social and spiritual.
Take the time to write down what you really want for yourself; it helps you
greatly clarify and stay connected to your goals.
Then, working back from that future, fill
in the steps to get there. Consider what elements would need to be done in a
year to be where you want in three years. Then look at what you need to be
doing in six months, one month and one week. Then tomorrow. And today; you
start doing today what you can. You can't go from couch potato to marathoner in
a day, but if that's what you want in a year, you can start today by walking
three times a week, and build a program in increments.
"Pretend you are your future self and do
what they are doing," says Caine. "The qualities of being where you want to be
define the steps to get there. What you do must be in keeping with who you will
Hara Estroff Marano is Editor-At-Large of
Psychology Today magazine and Editor-In-Chief of Psychology Today's
Blues Buster, a newsletter about depression. An award-winning writer on
human behavior, Haras articles have appeared in publications including the
New York Times, Smithsonian, Family Circle and The
Ladies Home Journal. She lives in New York City.