Tips For Setting (And Keeping) Life-Changing
By Toni Coleman
It’s time for that annual ritual of making
(and breaking) our New Year’s resolutions.
There is something about the idea of being able
to start over that motivates us to pause (at least
briefly) and reflect on our lives as they are,
as well as how we would like them to be. Yet how
many times have you thought back to last year’s
goals and found that many or most of them were
abandoned or just forgotten after a few weeks or
months into the year?
Many of us have difficulty following through on
our resolutions due to factors such as choosing
unrealistic goals, not making them challenging
enough and/or lacking the necessary motivation
to stick with them. The following tips should help
put you on the right course and assist you in staying
committed to your most important goals for 2003.
Start with a life vision.
If you don’t know what you want your future
to look like, how can you decide what areas of
your life need to be worked on? Spend some quiet
time TODAY reflecting on (and writing down) what
is good, bad or incomplete. Then try to “see” your
life if all of these areas were addressed and had
become satisfactory to you.
Clear away clutter. Go through paperwork, files,
old bills and receipts, closets, drawers and storage
containers. Decide what you need and will use and
either throw out or give away all the rest. Put
aside some time each week for this purpose. After
you have cleaned out you can think about your existing
systems for management and storage and see if these
need reworking or just some fine-tuning. Keep ONE
calendar to record all appointments, events, etc.
Write down everything- don’t rely on memory.
Expand your horizons and make a commitment to learning
Challenging yourself will infuse you with greater
energy and sense of purpose. It will help build
your self-esteem to realize you really are capable
of more than you had previously believed. This
new learning can also give you additional resources
to assist you in your career, personal or love
Set challenging yet realistic resolutions.
Choose goals that stretch your ability muscles,
yet are realistic and therefore less vulnerable
to failure. Don’t respond to that negative
inner voice that says; “Oh, I’m not
capable of that.” Instead, focus on what
you truly desire for your life and relationships
and let this be your guide.
Write down your resolutions.
Write them down and stick them on your bathroom
mirror, your fridge, your car dashboard, your desk
or wherever you know will be a good place for you
to see them. You can also show them to a good friend,
family member, your coach or anyone who could provide
support and encouragement.
Create action steps for each resolution; write
them down and keep an accounting of your progress
A resolution without planned action is doomed to
failure. Break each goal down into small action
steps or objectives. Putting a date for completion
will help ensure you follow through. Come up with
an accountability system that will work for you.
Make sure you check off each accomplishment as
you go and be flexible and willing to make adjustments
in your action steps in order to achieve your desired
Take care of yourself; eat well. Exercise regularly
and learn to control and eliminate unhealthy stress.
I know this is an obvious one, so why is it often
ignored or overlooked when we are attempting to
make important life changes? How many times have
you said, “I don’t have the time” to
eat right, exercise, sleep adequately, etc? Not
caring for yourself will guarantee failure. So,
why not make this your first and most important
resolution for 2003?
Work to eliminate bad habits.
Including this as a New Year’s resolution
would put you on the road to good follow-through.
Bad habits will sabotage your efforts and use up
your limited resources of time, energy and focus.
For each bad habit you decide to eliminate, have
a good habit in mind to replace it with.
Set appropriate and healthy limits in all areas
of your life.
Knowing your limits and enforcing them with yourself
and others is a prerequisite to a healthy life
and relationship. Learn to say “no” and “enough” and
be firm in your resolve that this is a good thing
to do. Otherwise, you will also be undermining
your resolution to take care of yourself.
Work to be the kind of person you want to be with.
Bringing out the best qualities in yourself will
help to ensure that you attract people of good
quality into your life. You wouldn’t want
to compromise on the standards you have set for
a potential mate. Therefore, it’s important
to understand that this also holds true for other
people in search of relationships.
Now begin this year with the resolve to be the
person you know you have the potential to be. You’ll
be pleased with the wonderful changes that await
Toni Coleman is a licensed therapist and relationship
coach in private practice in McLean, Virginia.
Toni has over 20 years of post-masters experience
in relationship counseling and coaching with singles
and couples. She is the founder and President of
LifeChange Coaching and Consum-mate Relationship
Coaching. Visit her website at: www.consum-mate.com
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