Rules for Resolutions #3: Consider What You Really Want, Part 1

How are your resolutions going? Are they still alive and strong on January 2? Maybe you’re still thinking about changing something. One of the first things I ask clients about their resolutions is whether the changes are something they really want or if their resolutions are something they think they should want.

Let’s say you’re resolved to lose weight.  You know you’ll look and feel better, and your health will improve. All of these are good reasons to make the effort to lose weight.  Whether they are enough to keep you on track when temptation nears is a post for another day.

Sometimes our resolutions are what someone else wants for us. We’re afraid our spouse will leave us if we don’t lose weight or stop a bad habit. Maybe we’re tired of being scolded by the doctor. Or we’re afraid that we’ll die at a young age. While fear is a powerful motivator, especially at first, it may not keep you from grabbing a donut, drink or cigarette when you’re unexpectedly stressed.

I had a friend who resolved to lose weight one year because it was New Year’s and “you’re supposed to make resolutions” then. Her efforts at losing weight were barely lukewarm, even though she did something she thought she should and made a resolution.

Whether you’re completely committed to positive changes in this coming year or you’re still considering whether you want to make the effort, I encourage you to consider why you want to change and who the change is for. Whatever answers you give are correct; there are no wrong answers unless you don’t like your response. And if you don’t like your answers, then change your reasons or change your goal.

A word of caution: while looking at “who” and “why” is a good start to moving toward success, the answers to these questions likely won’t maintain momentum when the path gets rocky. Tomorrow we’ll consider other ways to clarify what you really want.

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