Monday, December 31, 2012

5 Things You Should Know Before You Write Those New Year's Resolutions

I love a clean sheet of paper. I love to make lists. I love to commit to writing what I want to change up in my life. I think it is a great and necessary first step to making it happen. So you would think I would be a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. But I’m not.

I have my reasons.  For starters, I don’t like the word.  Which is why my list is labeled Intentions. I also don’t think it needs to be the New Year to experiment with change. I think change is necessary to growth and that is a year round activity. But that’s just me. And I tend not to fit into the norm.

Most people will make a list that will be doomed before they finish it. It might even be the same list they wrote last year and the year before that, only now on a fresh sheet of paper. They'll tuck it away someplace safe. Maybe even for a few days they'll act on it. Half way through the year they'll wonder why nothing changed. 

Here's what they needed to know before they started:

1- Don’t call them resolutions!  Resolution is a terrible word. It’s so clinical and unsexy. You’re doomed to failure before you start. Plus, it implies that whatever you were doing before was a big problem that you are now going to re solve. That does not sound like fun, and let’s face it, if there is not a way to have fun with this, why bother? 

2-Experiment with the word intention. Intention has no fixed outcome. You can intend to do something differently. You can intend to create something new. And by intending instead of resolving you allow the Universe to intercede, perhaps delivering up something that is even better than what you originally wrote down. 

3- Remember that true change requires discipline. Yes, discipline. Not a very user-friendly word in our culture. But if it is a 2013 that does not look like 2012 you want, you are going to have to exert some discipline.

For instance, if one of your resolutions/intentions/desires is to expand your business network then put aside at least one hour a week to go and spend on LinkedIn.  Set the timer and don’t get up until  it goes off. And then do it again, next week. 

4-Don’t forget to check your progress. Most of us will forget where we stored the list before Martin Luther King’s Birthday rolls around much less what we wrote on it. If you’re really intent on making some changes in 2013, you need to revisit that list periodically and see how things are going. Set up a schedule of reminders. 

I’ve become a big fan of a program called GoodtoDo that allows me to schedule recurring ToDo’s. This year I will set one so I can check in every month on how I’m doing with my intentions. The beauty of the program is that you don't have to worry about remembering to check in. Through the miracle of technology the program will remind you automatically on the day you told it. 

Let’s face it, in this 24/7 information on overload world we live in, we will all forget, no matter how important or what our age. In fact, it is often the things that we want most to change that we subconsciously push to the back of our mind.

Hold yourself accountable. Or enlist the help of someone or something else. Like GoodtoDo.

5-Read your list out loud. Preferably in the company of a living, breathing witness. Check in with yourself. Can you feel the rightness of your intentions? Are they coming from a true desire you have or what you think you should be doing?  If they make you nauseous, is it the good kind that lets you know you’re on the right track and headed towards something good? Or is it the kind that is a warning signal to you that this isn't really what you want on your list this year?

Now go to it! Make that list. Check in on it every month and let me know how it goes. Happy New Year!

Happy new year 2013


Mengsha Wang said...

I have to say these are really useful tips for me. List is not wrong, but if no follow-up actions it means nothing. Instead of announcing a resolution to the world, making a discipline and check the process every single month is more important....

Unknown said...

Glad you found them useful!