On Track With Your Resolutions

Yes, I’ve done it before too – getting back on-track at the start of a new year, making resolutions, recommitting myself to my happiness, success, and well-being. And I know what it is like to get off-track, then back on-track again, and back, and forth. It seems that this cycle is a natural part of learning to express more fully what really matters to me in my life. And it seems that sometimes, how far off-track I drift, how long it takes to get back on-track, and how challenging it feels to do it actually varies. Sometimes, I feel swift and graceful – regaining poise, balance, and my center with the skill and ease of a dancer or athlete. Sometimes I feel like I’m stuck in the mud, with a massive burden on my back, and a blindfold on. Sound familiar? What is it that makes the difference? In my experience I have found a few things to be very helpful.

First of all, make commitments you know you can keep – setting yourself up for success. This means setting a clearly defined objective with a time frame so you will know when you have done it. Rather than resolving to just lose weight – pick a target weight and time-frame. And that is only half of it. The other half is breaking down goals into smaller pieces that you know you can complete. Rather than resolving to workout every day – commit to working out for 30 minutes tomorrow. Then make a new commitment to working out again tomorrow. It’s easy to feel like the bigger, better, more ambitious, and more exciting your commitment is the more brownie points or gold-stars you will get. I am all for thinking big and getting motivated through inspiring dreams and visions of the future. But when it comes down to staying on track (and getting back on-track with ease), small is beautiful and more supportive. When you make the commitment, you feel like “Heck yeah! I KNOW I can do that!” It’s a slam-dunk.

Second, reward yourself with good feelings. How often have you just completed a task you set for yourself, when the very next moment you picture in your mind all the other things you have not done yet and start feeling overwhelmed? Or just after a workout, you get on the scale and feel discouraged by all the weight you still want to lose? Feeling the frustration, anger, or sadness about a current situation can be great motivation to get started on changing it for the better. But moving into more positive feelings will help you stay on track more easily in the long run. Think about it for a second – if you “reward” yourself with discouragement, overwhelm, or frustration after completing something you wanted to do for yourself, will that encourage you in the future to that again? Instead, pause for a moment, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and smile. Say something to yourself like “I am glad that I just did that!”

These two tips taken together deliver a powerful one-two combo. Your clearly defined commitment will let you know exactly when to reward yourself with good feelings. Your small goals will increase the frequency you are rewarding yourself with good feelings. The result will be you get off-track less often, you won’t drift as far, and you’ll get back on track with the finesse of an Olympian. Try it out!

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7 Comments

  1. LL&L says:

    I really like your post. I found it very helpful; it was just the right amount of info. I can leave your blog and put the tips into play immediately. Thank you.

  2. lee schwartz says:

    Mike,

    I like it. good stuff and well written. easy common sense stuff but said in a great way.

  3. haberjon says:

    Very insightful post, Michael. Keep it up!

  4. Charlene Sansone says:

    Well said and simply put!! Love it!

  5. Gail says:

    Thanks for sending this to me….I am going to use this information for myself and I’m forwarding your blog to some friends that could also use the help…Keep up the good work…see ya soon…Gail

  6. Bob says:

    That was some valuable info to be reminded about and it came to me at a time in my life where it would be valauble to practice those tecniques. Like you had written it just for me. I can feel overwhelmed with my dreams and used to beat myself up for not getting things done sooner. Thanks Bro!! Feel free to send me any other words of wisdom. Good luck with your endeavors and God Bless.

  7. I finally got a chance to check this out. Clearly written, Mike. And a month into the year it comes at a good time for, too. :)

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