Happy New Year! The purpose of celebrating New Year’s is not to celebrate the start of a new year, but the beginning of a new YOU, an improved you, a more enlightened you, a more powerful you. And we start our journey to a new, improved self by making New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t you agree? If you do, you belong to the group of about 42% of Americans who feel the same way. But after they make their resolutions, do they live up to them? I’m afraid not. You see, four out of five will eventually break them. In fact, one third won’t even make it to the end of the month (January).
How about you? Have you been finding it difficult in the past to live up to your New Year’s resolutions? If so, you may be having problems, as most people do, with self-sabotage, self-doubt, and self-limiting beliefs. If this is the case for you, before creating plans for a new, better you, you may want to clear the path of roadblocks that will prevent success. You can do this by learning how to apply self-therapy and heal yourself. If you are intrigued by this idea and would like to begin, all you need do this year is make three resolutions:
1. Get this book
2. Apply and practice what you learn
3. After freeing yourself from self-imposed limitations, begin a vigorous personal-development plan and amaze yourself with your own power!
If whatever is holding you back isn’t so deeply rooted that you need (self) therapy, a gentle nudge may be all you need. If so, you may find all the helpful advice you require to get unstuck here. Nevertheless, the book is so useful, it should be required reading for all. Besides, there’s no reason why you can’t study the book and work on New Year’s resolutions at the same time. With that thought in mind, it may be helpful to review some of the steps involved in developing and carrying out our resolutions.
1. Reflection. Before we can change our behaviour, we need to change our mind. And before we can change our mind, we need to be aware of the need for change. Often, we get so caught up in the mundane activities of life that we don’t see which way we are heading. What’s the point of traveling if we don’t know where we’re going? That’s why there’s a need for reflection. We pause to ask ourselves questions like: “Where am I heading? Did I accomplish everything I set out to do last year? What did I do that was right? What did I do wrong? What do I need to do differently this year? Awareness of problems leads to a desire for change and is the first step in getting back on track.
2. Conviction. Now that we want to change, it’s time to acknowledge that we CAN change. Reflect on the many accomplishments you have already attained. Remind yourself of your personal power. Use your achievements to inspire you to add new attainments to your list of accomplishments.
3. Resolution. After accepting that you CAN change, you’re ready to resolve that you WILL change. Focus on your determination and get your adrenaline running. Determination is the key to releasing your power. For as William Ellery Channingwrote, “A man in earnest finds means, or, if he cannot find, creates them. A vigorous purpose makes much out of little, breathes power into weak instruments, disarms difficulties, and even turns them into assistances. Every condition has means of progress, if we have spirit enough to use them.”
4. Commitment. You are resolved to act, so now make a commitment. That is, make a plan and take your first action steps. For example, if you’re planning to start an exercise program, take a tour of some facilities; select one, and sign up. Congratulations! Your exercise program will not only firm your body, but will make you firm and resolute. And when you are firm and resolute, you mold and shape your destiny.
5. Get excited. Turbo charge your emotions. Resolve is the poker that stokes the fires of enthusiasm and passion. When you’re burning with enthusiasm, you’ll find the way to succeed. The fire that lights your heart, lights the way. Someone else described it this way, “Paths clear before those who know where they’re going and are determined to get there.”
6. No pain, no gain. Don’t be afraid of ‘pain.’ The more you experience, the more you will delight in your accomplishment. Don’t let a little pain stop you, for as the Scottish Theologian William Barclay said, “All life is based on the fact that anything worth getting is hard to get. There is a price to be paid for anything. Scholarship can only be bought at the price of study, skill in any craft or technique can only be bought at the price of practice, eminence in any sport can only be bought at the price of training and discipline. The world is full of people who have missed their destiny because they would not pay the price. No one can take the easy way and enter into any kind of glory or greatness.”
7. Persist. Simple persistence and perseverance are golden keys. Those who unfalteringly remain on target are assured of success. When Muhammad was told to give up his unpopular crusade, he said, “O uncle! I swear that if they put the sun on my right hand and the moon on my left, I will not renounce the career I have entered upon until God gives me success, or I perish.” That was determination. Such determination is unstoppable.
8. Change your viewpoint. Positive change is positive. So, your viewpoint must also be positive. For instance, let’s say you plan to give up cigarettes. Don’t say, “I will quit smoking.” Why? Because that’s a negative viewpoint. You see, all it does is bring up thoughts of LOSS. Each time you think about quitting, you’ll think about being deprived of the pleasure and comfort of smoking. No wonder it’s hard to quit. Instead say, “From today I will lead a healthier lifestyle.” That statement brings up thoughts of GAIN. You will gain stamina, well-being, a heightened sense of taste, a longer life span, and so on. By focusing on the positive, you’ll have a reason to persist.
1. Here is a powerful technique. At the same time you make your New Year’s resolutions, change your routine. For instance, take a different route to work, have lunch at another place, open the door to your office with your left instead of your right hand, and so on. Why do so? Because each time you act out of character, you are forcing yourself to remember that you are living in a new way. It is easy to change your routine, and the changes will act as powerful cues, reminding you that you have resolutions to follow.
2. Make your goals as specific as possible. Don’t say, “I’m going to lose some weight” but say “I’m going to lose 10 lb. by February 30, 2015 by drinking more water, cutting out junk food, eating balanced meals, and exercising.”
3. Monitor your progress weekly. What are you doing right? Keep doing it! What are you doing wrong? What is the cause of the problem? How can you correct it? Also, set milestones. By keeping a watchful eye on your progress, you’ll be able to make corrections as you go along.
4. Do it for yourself. Don’t be pressured into anything. Remember, to succeed, your plan must be a passionate one. How can you be passionate about something you don’t want to do? Decide on what you WANT from life and focus on those goals. Granted, there may be things you should be doing, but don’t want to. That’s fine; it simply means you’re a human being. The good news is that as we accomplish goals we WANT, we develop self-discipline. In other words, you’ll have the strength to work on bigger goals later.
5. Because we cannot accomplish everything at once, we need patience, focus, and persistence. As we monitor our progress and see the progress we are making, no matter how small, it will be enough to motivate us to continue. If you come across bumps in the road, don’t be discouraged. Just pick yourself up and continue. How can you develop your skills if it’s smooth sailing all the way? You need to experience a few storms before you can become the Captain of your ship.
Here is a simple 13-step plan that will lead you to success.
1. Review last year by asking yourself the following questions.
“Did I make a commitment or merely have a wish? Did I overreach; bite off more than I could chew?Was I sufficiently motivated? Do I understand that motivation is mentally experiencing the benefits of our goals before we achieve them? Do I realize that by regularly visualizing the benefits in my imagination, I will become energized and inspired to take action? What did I do wrong last year and how can I correct my mistakes? Were my resolutions something I wanted to do or was it something I was pressured into? Were my resolutions believable? Were they meaningful enough to inspire me?”
2. Learn from your mistakes. When you do so, you stop thinking of yourself as a failure and lose the desire to quit
3. Create a “Victory Journal” and list your 2014 successes in it. Add a new list every year, so you can try to better your performance each year.
4. List the goals you wish to achieve this year.
5. Prioritize the list in order of importance.
6. Break down the first item on your list into the steps you have to take to reach your goal.
7. Schedule the steps you need to take in your calendar.
8. Implement your plan by starting on the first item.
9. Don’t just start, but, follow through on all the necessary steps.
10. Monitor your progress. Doing so keeps you focused on success.
11. Take corrective action as the need arises.
12. Add your successes to your 2015 victory list in your Victory Journal.
13. Celebrate your success and reward yourself.
The Rules of C(huck)
For maximum success, follow these “C” rules:
1. Work your plan constantly, continually.
2. Be consistent, stay focused.
3. Apply concentrated effort.
4. Remain committed.
5. Take considered, careful, and calculated action.
6. Confirm that you are taking the right steps by monitoring your actions.
7. Be conscientious; do the right thing because you are the beneficiary.
8. Your success is more important than fear, so don’t let it block you. Stay courageous.
9. Avoid wishy-washy, ambiguous action. Take clear action; precision is called for.
10. Work toward completion, carry through.
11. Don’t be afraid to be conciliatory or to make concessions, for half a pie is better than none.
1. Don’t let brick walls (obstacles) stop you. Rather, welcome them, for they weed out the weak hearted and prevent your competitors from succeeding. In a word, they allow you to prove you have the commitment others lack.
2. If you find yourself getting stuck because of a lack of willpower, read this article.
3. Stop making excuses and take responsibility for your life. Remember, you are the CEO of YOU Inc. Your future is created by the decisions and choices you make.
4. If you run too many computer programs at the same time, your computer will slow down and grow ineffective. Those who have that problem can install more RAM and improve the performance of their computer. However, we can neither buy nor install more memory for our brain. Trying to remember the countless tasks, projects, and responsibilities we have will result in mistakes and failures. To take full advantage of the processing power of our brain, write everything down. And once you have done so, schedule time to regularly review your notes so you can remain in control.
5. Remain focused on what is important. Don’t be led astray by distractions. Often ask yourself if what you are doing is in your best interest.
6. Impatience is the ruin of many. Often, people give up when they would have succeeded if they had only persevered.
7. When you, your work environment, or both are disorganized, productivity falls and opportunities are lost. If you need help in this area, your local bookstore or library can provide books that will guide you to an organized life free of clutter and distractions.
8. Even the best of intentions can be defeated if you lack the energy to work effectively. To prevent this from happening, eat balanced meals, exercise, have sufficient sleep, and practice relaxation exercises to reduce stress.
9. The average person does not follow a success system. Any system will do in the beginning. By system, I mean a guide to success which can come in the form of a book, audio program, or seminar. The advantages of following a system include being introduced to ideas and practices that would take many years to learn by yourself. Studying a program also keeps you focused on success and reduces the likelihood of failure.
10. Ultimately, the major cause of success is action; it is the key to transforming a wish to reality.
11. The best of us occasionally trip and fall. Expect a relapse; don’t be surprised by it. Just because you slip back into a bad habit, it is not a reason to stop trying. Rather, it is a sign to remain alert. It is also a reminder to monitor your progress on a daily basis. This way, if you do slip, you will lose only one day.
12. Avoid behavior, people, and places that may lead you away from your goals. Keeping a resolution is difficult enough; don’t add to your problems by exposing yourself to temptation.
13. Work with goals that depend on your efforts rather than ones that lie outside of your control.
14. Like stars to a mariner, your goals should guide you, not govern you. At times, life plans more for you than you do, so don’t keep your eyes too firmly fixed on the goal or you may miss a greater opportunity. Remain open and flexible.
15. In his 2005 Commencement Address at Stanford University, Steve Jobs made a memorable statement, “Death is very likely the single best invention of Life.” He was referring to the fact that life refreshes itself, brings in new blood and new ideas by eliminating the past and creating a future with new generations. I also find death to be a great invention of life, but for a different reason. I find it to be the agent of change because as we feel the breath of the Grim Reaper, we are spurred on to take action while we still have time. For this reason, I believe it is a good idea to remind ourselves of our mortality on a daily basis. I’m not suggesting a morbid fixation on death, but just enough awareness that we are motivated to act now.
16. You might have heard people say, “I can’t make resolutions and keep them.” Sorry, that’s not true. You see, they ARE making resolutions and KEEPING them. The only problem is their resolutions are negative, for example, “I CAN’T lose weight. I CAN’T quit smoking. I CAN’T wake up on time.” The list goes on and on. They are amazingly successful at keeping their resolutions. Unfortunately, their negative resolutions bog them down, limit their capabilities, stunt their growth, and diminish their happiness. Since we all make and keep resolutions, the questions we want to ask ourselves are “What resolutions do we want to make? Will I resolve to become MORE than what I am today or will I resolve to become LESS than I am capable of becoming?” The choice is ours. If we’re now in a mess, why despair when we can repair? We should be looking forward to the New Year. It is the perfect time to initiate changes in our lives.
17.Resolutions are promises we make to ourselves. When we keep them, we benefit in three ways. First, we prove that we have the power to change. Second, we prove that we can depend on ourselves by keeping our word. Third, we benefit from the positive changes the resolutions bring into our lives. When we make New Year’s resolutions and stick to them, we grow stronger. We mature. We develop self-discipline and lift ourselves by our own bootstraps. The result is greater self-confidence, peace of mind, and control over our lives. On the other hand, when we break our resolutions, we grow weaker. After all, we have demonstrated to ourselves that we are not resolute; we lack self-discipline, and we have given up on improving ourselves. Don’t allow the negative effects of the broken resolutions of others deter you from making your own. Instead, use that information as motivation to stick to the promises you have made to yourself and enjoy the benefits that will follow.
18. Don’t set your goals in stone. Rather re-evaluate them from time to time. Circumstances change. Ask yourself if your goals are still aligned with your dreams and the times you live in. Do they still excite you or do you have new interests that clamor for your attention?
19. If we make a resolution, we are resolving to do something we are not yet doing. Why aren’t we doing it? There must be reasons. It may be difficult to do, involve some efforts we have to make, or sacrifices we have to carry out. So, expect resistance. Prepare for it. Accept the short-term pain for the long-term gain. After sticking to our resolution for a month or two, it will become a habit and much easier to carry out. So, it will no longer be a matter of working harder, but of developing good habits, which will propel you forward. Keep your eyes on the goal and anticipate the success that is yours.
20. Don’t become unrealistically ambitious. True, it may be great to improve your golf game, lose weight, hang out more with your friends, take a computer course to improve your productivity, learn ballroom dancing, make a rec room in the basement, and design a flower garden for your backyard. But wait a minute! Do you have the time? Don’t engage in wishful thinking. Instead schedule each activity so you know exactly how much time is available. And don’t forget to include extra time for emergencies.
21.If you wish to experience a truly successful 2015, abandon the notion that “A New Year’s resolution is something that goes in one (y)ear and out the other.” Rather, follow Ben Franklin‘s advice, “Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
22.Our first resolution for the New Year should be to increase the awareness and control of our thoughts. Let’s get a bit more specific. Our thoughts generally fall into two categories: positive or negative. They inspire us or diminish us, enslave us or set us free, empower us or weaken us. Moreover, since our mind, body, and spirit are integrated, what happens in one area of our lives affects the other areas as well. So, a negative thinker can end up with a broken spirit, sick body, and shattered dreams.
Isn’t it amazing how we can change our lives by changing our thoughts, feelings, and behavior? Shh! If you remain silent for a moment, you will hear the unlimited potential of the New Year beckoning you and softly asking, “Are you preparing to make and keep resolutions that will allow me to create a better you?”
Chuck Gallozzi lived, studied, and worked in Japan for 15 years, immersing himself in the wisdom of the Far East and graduating with B.A. and M.A. degrees in Asian Studies. He is a Certified NLP Practitioner, speaker, seminar leader, and coach. Corporations, church groups, teachers, counselors, and caregivers use his more than 400 articles as a resource to help others. Among his diverse accomplishments, he is also the Grand Prix Winner of a Ricoh International Photo Competition, the Canadian National Champion of a Toastmasters International Humorous Speech Contest, and the Founder and Head of the Positive Thinkers Group that has been meeting at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto since 1999. His articles are published in books, newsletters, magazines, and newspapers. He was interviewed on CBC’s “Steven and Chris Show,” appearing nationally on Canadian TV. Chuck can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. View his photography at https://500px.com/chuckgallozzi. This article cannot be re-published without permission.