6 Steps to Making Effective New Year Resolutions
There’s just something about the short, cold days of winter, the long hours spent indoors and the overindulgence in rich foods over the holidays that inspires us to make changes at the beginning of the New Year. As the New Year brings the opportunity for change, it also brings the occasion for reflection of the personal, professional or physical circumstances in our life we’d like to change, and a reflection on how we created the circumstances we seek to improve in the first place. The areas that most people resolve to change as the New Year dawns include money, sleep, exercise, food, health, personal organization, and relationships.
Balance in all areas of our life is often a goal we aspire to, and since the holidays are often about imbalance—as we rush from one activity to another—the New Year seems like a natural time to reconnect with our mind and spirit to find the personal practices that will support our goal of renewal, rejuvenation and repair of the body, mind and spirit.
The body, in its wisdom, provides an intuitive nudge as a reminder of the things we may need to hear, and although this method of communication is always present in the body, the New Year seems to be a time when this form of inner knowing can be the loudest. The messages might be about feeling better physically, looking better, feeling energized or well rested, having greater productivity, having a stronger body, feeling happier, or being in the flow and being peaceful in your life. At times circumstances prevent us from making these choices for ourselves and prioritizing our wellness. If it resonates with you, the New Year may be a good time to make a shift: love yourself more; feel better about yourself; heal your relationships with food, exercise, money, and/or work; and release the habits that have formed that are not serving your highest potential.
Here are six things you can get started doing right now to develop effective New Year resolutions:
1. Reflect with Gratitude
Practice a daily, mindful exercise reflecting on the many ways your life is abundant right now and express your gratitude—what you focus on grows. Celebrate the things that are great in your life. They don’t have to be grand; the little things often mean the most. This can be a mental exercise or a written one, recorded in your journal.
2. Value Yourself
When you value yourself with a deep appreciation you will naturally show up for yourself in a much kinder way. Understand, acknowledge and celebrate all the things you do, the many roles you play: parent, spouse, employee, sibling, daughter, son, community volunteer and more. You offer so much to the world: start there with your gratitude and things will begin to shift for you.
3. Start by Adding In
Think in terms of adding things, not taking things away. For example, add more greens to your diet, add more movement to your day, add more laughter and joy. When you add things in, the things that do not serve you seem to naturally fall by the wayside, especially when the feeling of deprivation is removed from the experience of change. No one wants to feel deprived of anything; life is all about abundance, joy and gratitude.
4. Self-speak with Care
Watch your words, be kind to yourself and avoid judging yourself for not achieving the things you want. Resolving to make changes is about finding ways to make choices that support getting control over the things that are important to you, not judging yourself harshly for not having arrived at those things yet or as quickly as you would have like.
5. Assess Your Values
Think about the things you value. What do you want more of? Is it free time, health, adventure, friendship, community involvement, time alone? Consider how can you start to make changes to create these things in your life. Think about how your life will feel once you start making changes and how that will bring more of the feelings and experiences you want.
6. Consider Embodiment
What do you want to celebrate about yourself in 2013? Reflect upon one thing in 2013 that you embodied that you’re proud of. Are you better served by leaving certain things behind in 2013? And which qualities do you wish to embody in 2014? Reflect upon your circumstances and determine some daily practices that you can engage in with ease and grace that will allow you to begin embodying the physical and emotional qualities that you wish to welcome in your life in 2014.
As you reflect on your past year and set out to make goals for the New Year, stay committed to creating opportunities for your personal and physical growth and allow yourself to be the filled with abundance and vibrancy in 2014.
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