Sure as the ball will drop at midnight in Times Square, each year millions of people will make resolutions for how they plan to change their lives. In fact, more than 50% of people set resolutions each year. Compare that to the fact that only 8% report successfully following through on those resolutions, and it’s enough to make one pause and consider another approach. That is why I don’t recommend resolutions for my clients. Instead, I recommend a new way of looking at how we approach change.
The trouble with resolutions is the premise. The idea is that we can make a commitment, forge ahead, and change our lives through will-power and sheer determination. However, if we struggled with an issue in 2015, what makes us think that turning the calendar is going to suddenly make us successful? What’s missing in the resolution paradigm is looking deeper at what has tripped us up in the past. Change IS possible, but not without a great deal of hard work.
Take weight loss. According to Neilson.com, “staying fit and healthy,” and “losing weight,” were the top 2 resolutions for 2015, accounting for 69% of all resolutions. In my experience, many people share this goal. The problem is that most people simply state this declaration, and assume that the results will follow. A better approach would be to ask yourself, “Why did I over-eat and/or not exercise enough last year? When do I make the wrong food choices? What is driving that behavior?”
For example, let’s suppose you want to lose weight, and you discover that you over-eat every time you have to deal with difficult people or situations at work. If you start a weight loss and exercise program, you will likely achieve some short-term success, but will not get to the root of the problem. Unless you address what triggers you to eat, you will revert back to eating too much of the wrong foods for the wrong reasons. If instead, you work on how to handle stress at work, you’ll find yourself over-eating less often. As a result, you will likely lose weight. The focus will be on removing the barrier to healthy eating, not on losing weight.
To make changes in your life, you must first create time and space to work on your issues. Just like carving out time to cook healthy meals, or making time to work out with a personal trainer, life changes take time. At this time of year, many of my clients complete a Life Review booklet that allows them to take stock of various aspects of their lives. It takes time and thought to reflect on yourself in this way. If you feel you cannot find the time, cut out one hour of TV twice a week. You will cherish those two hours working on your life, instead of watching others live theirs.
Note – There IS one resolution I would support you making this year – to resolve to hire me as your life coach and make a 90-day commitment to change your life. If you do this, we can take one of the areas of your life, and begin to do the focused and serious work that it takes to make real and lasting change. I’d love to work with you and help you make 2016 your best year yet!