The New Year has officially begun! The holidays are over, it’s January and we are firmly moving into 2013. I don’t know about you but I’ve been struggling a bit to maintain some of my new year’s resolutions. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, says that it’s easy to make a resolution but not always easy to keep one.
With the first new moon of 2013 upon us, I’m feeling particularly excited to write about the topic of resolutions. I’ve long been a lover of watching the night sky so for me this day represents an opportunity to begin again.
Previously, we discussed how to utilize SMART goals as we set our resolutions for the year (check it out if you missed it). By keeping our resolutions Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, we can stay on track and create concrete, well-directed resolutions. Seems simple, doesn’t it? So, how do we help ourselves stay accountable to the goals we set for ourselves and not let them fall by the wayside, as so often happens by late January?
Here are some useful tips to help you be more accountable to your resolutions:
- IMAGINE and FEEL – The most important thing you can do for yourself is to imagine succeeding in your resolution. Once you imagine, you can sense the way it will make you feel to accomplish your goal. For example, if my goal is to “get in shape this year,” I can visualize myself already in shape and feel the feelings that being in shape evokes in me. Doing this will make it easier to honor my commitment to myself. Who doesn’t want to feel good?
- FIND an ALLY – Share your goals with someone: a friend, your spouse, a sibling, or a classmate … anyone that you can count on to help remind you to stay on track with your personal commitment. Research shows that adopting and maintaining new habits is easier if you have the support of others. Let them help you! Have a look at Dr. Mark Hyman’s effort in creating that group effort toward health and accountability at http://www.takebackourhealth.org/. You can also download a free mobile app to track your personal wellness goals and share with friends. A recent favorite of mine can be found at http://fig.com/.
- PLAN, PLAN, PLAN – Writing things down whether it’s journaling or just scheduling the week’s menu sends a powerful message to your subconscious mind. Go ahead and post your goals around your home and office while you’re at it. Write your intentions down and place them where you know you’ll see them most as reminders to yourself of what you are resolving to do.
- FORGIVE and FORGE AHEAD – Don’t give up on yourself if you slip. Be gentle and forgive yourself. Creating a change in behavior takes time, practice, and repetition. Some studies say it takes at least 21 days to create new habits, whether it’s establishing a meditation practice or eating more healthily. Don’t get discouraged – try to get to that 21 day mark and see if things become easier to maintain.
- INCENTIVIZE YOURSELF – Reward yourself for your successes! Not only once you meet your goal, but as you make strides along the way, put specific rewards in place. Maybe it’s a new dress when you lose your first 10 pounds or a new camera lens once you’ve made it half way through the semester of a photography class.
Stephen R. Covey says, “Accountability breeds response-ability.” As we learn to be accountable to ourselves, so grows our ability to respond to our own needs and the needs of others. Self-commitment equals self-love. Wishing you all the best as you continue onward with your personal resolutions for 2013!