New Year’s Resolutions have always seemed like a set up to me. You resolve to do the hardest things in your life at the most difficult time of the year. If you resolve to work out more, the gym will be packed. Mornings are dark. If you resolve to be on time, the highway will be jammed with traffic or weather. Someone else will be late and leave you waiting. There will be barriers to everything you “resolve” to do in the New Year.
But isn’t that just the point? Get ready to jump those barriers because if it were easy, anyone could do it. Why do you think the gym, yoga studio, or Spanish class is just about empty by Valentine’s Day? Because it is never easy. Once you accept that, your resolutions will be easier to manage. Here are a five suggestions for making them stick.
First: Don’t make resolutions. Make commitments that you can stand by and that serve you. Rather than resolving to be on time, make a commitment to respect whoever/whatever is waiting for you. Remind yourself why you are trying to change a behavior and then commit to doing it for that reason. Not because you should be on time but because you do respect yourself and the person waiting for you. By doing that, you may find that you have a better incentive for keeping the resolution. And if you miss it one time, it may make more sense to come back to it.
Second: Resolve to do something you believe in. I might not want to run to Mexico City for the Virgin Mary like about a million people do here in Mexico. But I might run there for greater awareness of my physical or my mental strength because I believe in those things. Find something that resonates with your moral compass and go for it.
Third: Find a teacher who inspires you to try, even if that teacher is inside you. Buddha said “Only one person in a million becomes enlightened without a teacher’s help”. You may be that person. But you might reach your personal enlightenment a lot faster with a teacher who speaks to your soul, even if it is just on one level. No one is going to meet you on every level, so see what you can take from one good person, be that your gym teacher, running buddy, language professor or personal guru.
Fourth: Find a group of people who want to do the same thing. Even the solitary guys riding their bikes down the empty highway to honor the Virgin of Guadalupe have someone behind them for support. Let someone help you meet your goals while they meet theirs. That way, you have help to stay motivated.
Fifth and finally: Be prepared to do it all on your own if you have to. Sounds like a contradiction, I know. But remember that the resolution or commitment is for you. So if you believe in it, be ready to go to the wall to achieve it with or without your gurus or friends. Be willing to still do your breathwork if your friend doesn’t show. Be ready to get out there on those cold rainy mornings to run, even if you have to go by yourself. Figure out how to be the inspiration that someone else may need by sticking with your goals and rocking your very own world.
Happy New Year