Rules for Resolutions

Like any good coach with a blog, I’m offering suggestions for transitioning to the new year. This will be a series of posts, and despite the threshold of 2012 tonight, your change can begin anytime. In fact, I’m not even going to help you figure out your resolutions for tonight. Here are 4 Rules for New Year’s Resolutions, and we’re going to start backwards.

Rule #1: there is no starting gun. You can, of course, decide to start or stop something as of midnight or you may set a date for sometime in the future. Experience will probably tell you that expecting meaningful, lasting change to begin with the snap of your fingers is unrealistic.

Rule #2 is do-overs are allowed. If the change is something you really want, it’s  worthy of your time and attention, and a few obstacles or relapses can’t keep you from your goal.

Rule #3 is consider what it is you really want. That’s a post or two for another day.

Rule #4 is contemplate how you got where you are. Here’s the real purpose of today’s post. I’d like to suggest you write your thoughts down. Your thoughts will be better organized and you will have something to which you can refer later. You may list more than three; I ask that you list at least three.

  • Make yourself comfortable now, right where you are.
  • Take a breath and center yourself.
  • Consider three things you’re grateful for that happened in 2011. Sometimes it’s easier to begin with something that you had no control over, like “My team won a championship” or “My kid learned how to ride a bike.” Ask yourself what it is that sparks gratitude. It might be something like “It was really fun to follow a team that never quit” or “My kid just kept trying and now he’s becoming more independent and growing up.” You may find important nuggets of inspiration in others’ accomplishments.
  • Articulate three of your accomplishments in 2011.
  • Now consider three things that you are in the process of completing. Perhaps you’re looking for a different job or you’ve been losing weight and have more to go. Embrace your persistence and appreciate the challenges that you faced in your progress. Acknowledge what it took for you to prevail over obstacles.

Coaching tip of the day: When they first reflect on the past year, many of my clients voice frustration for not being where they want to be, and it’s OK to acknowledge if a year has been crappy. I urge them–and you–to go further than being frustrated at not being further along. Look closer at the year, you’re sure to see progress, even if it’s incremental and not monumental. You’re probably a lot closer to your goal than you would have been had you not chosen to take action.

Now toast the passing of the old and the coming of the new.  See you next year!

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