The “New” New Year’s Resolution

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I was just reading an article on huffpost.com which stated that by Valentine’s Day, 92% of New Year’s Resolutions have been broken. In light of that statistic, I thought it would be valuable to offer an encouraging word and some thoughts that may help you get back on the horse and finish what you’ve started.

I applaud New Year’s Resolutions. Any time someone wants to change, better themselves, create new behaviors – I’m all for it! Craig Groeschel, one of my personal all-time favorite pastors, states that “successful people do often what unsuccessful people do occasionally.” In our instant gratification society, we have a very difficult time with small, incremental changes. During that first week of January, we hop on the treadmill three times, eat healthy, then step on the scale the following Monday, see that we’ve actually gained a pound and lose our minds. We scream “this doesn’t work!” and head to the fridge to eat a half-gallon of ice cream.

Before we set any “new” New Year’s Resolutions, I want you to try something different. Instead of focusing on the goal for yourself, like losing 20lbs or getting out of debt, focus first on who you want to be. Once you’ve determined that, you can start to change your decision-making process. Here’s the trick: you have to make all future decisions based on you actually being that person. Example: If you want to be a healthy, fit person who feels great about themselves, you have to start by believing that you are that person now. The sum of all of your past decisions has formed you into who you used to be.

The person you ARE is constantly being created. Once you decide who you want to be, you can start making decisions based on who you are becoming. I know it sounds a little “new-ageish,” but your mind is in control of your decision-making and you have to retrain your mind to realize that you’ve already changed. Once you grasp this concept, you will be able to see the world and view your decisions through your new lens.

Let’s say you’re a smoker and your New Year’s Resolution is to quit. When someone asks if you want a cigarette, don’t answer, “I can’t. I’m trying to quit smoking.” By speaking those words, you admit that you ARE a smoker and train your brain for failure. When asked if you’d like a cigarette, you answer “No, thank you. I don’t smoke.” You see, the OLD you used to smoke, but that isn’t who you are anymore.

Remember, even though the first step to success at making meaningful life changes is to shift your mindset; don’t be discouraged if you don’t see instant results. It is the million little changes you make that will achieve the long-term difference. You didn’t gain 30 pounds, get into financial trouble or sabotage your relationships overnight. Getting out of debt, getting into shape, improving relationships takes time.

Successful people do often what unsuccessful people do occasionally. State who you want to be. Write it down. Believe it is who you are … and repeat. This is one recipe for making meaningful, long-term change and keeping those resolutions. I know it’s the middle of February; but that means there is a 92% chance that you’re in a great spot to make your “New” New Year’s Resolution.

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