Resolutions Versus Sustainable Permanent Change



The New Year is here. It’s a time of hope and new beginnings. For many, it’s also a time of resolutions.

Resolutions, grand ideas that just never seem to materialize. We all start off with the best of intentions. This year, I will be healthier. I’m going to lose weight. This is my last cigarette. Then, before the week is out we’ve slipped a little. Before the month is done, we’ve given up for another year.

I haven’t made a New Year’s resolution in years. For a long time though, I did make the same half-hearted resolution to lose weight (or the associated exercise more). Each year, the leftover Christmas cookies won the battle. Inevitably, the exercise equipment reverted back to its normal role as a dust collector.

Looking back, I realize that my resolutions never had a real goal or a plan to get there. Truthfully, I think I was leaving myself an out so that when I ran out of steam, I could just quit. Although I was motivated to achieve my goals, I never really committed to the process. So, each year, I just got more resolute that any resolutions I made would soon be failures.

The Idea Behind Resolutions

With this said, I do like the idea behind resolutions. I just think that the New Year’s Resolution gives us permission to procrastinate each year. Oh, I’ll binge on Christmas goodies now because I’m going to lose weight after the New Year. Then, when the time comes, we just make excuses because we really didn’t want to make the changes anyway. It just sounded like a good idea at the time.

These days, I don’t resolve. I do, however, plan and work towards my goals- year round. First, I take my idea and look to the core of it. Why do I want to lose weight? Why do I want to exercise? What do I think that I will achieve (feel) when I’m ten pounds lighter? Will this goal actually bring me this feeling?

Sustainable Permanent Change

Knowing what you really want is the key. You’ll sabotage yourself every time if you are doing things just for the sake of doing them. Go straight to the heart of what you really want.

Once I’m clear about what I want, then the next obvious step is figuring out how to get there. What actions do I need to take? What methods will work best with my personality and lifestyle? What resources am I going to need?

Perhaps the most important part of the process is actually taking action. Take a step (even a tiny step every day). Move towards your goals. It’s also important to accept that no matter how good your plan you probably aren’t going to be perfectly successful the first time.

Permanent change requires integration (making it your own). The reality is that if something doesn’t fit neatly into your life (and who you truly are), you will eventually tire of it and give up. Thus, at every step your intention should be to tweak your plan and any associated actions to become part of your life. With consistent effort, you will see change.