The first month of 2010 has nearly come to an end and so it also seems the first excitement about New Year's resolutions and ambitious goals. February starts and most of us are back to our old rhythm, back to our old habits.
What is it with the New Year's resolutions? Why don't they work?
The festive season is a quite exhilarating one. During the month of December we have all the exciting pre-Christmas preparations to do and so much to look forward to. When Christmas does arrive we make ourselves very comfortable in our warm, cosy and nicely decorated homes, we indulge with gorgeous food, we are busy visiting and meeting family and friends, we celebrate literally daily and are intoxicated - not only from wine, toddy and Feuerzangenbowle** punch, but mostly from all the festive excitement Christmas brings with it.
In addition, we have the New Year ahead of us, a new beginning, which is always something very exhilarating and empowering - a new chance - everything is possible. In the safety of our nests, surrounded by happiness, excitement and carelessness we feel strong and certain to be able to manage anything in the New Year - isn't it next year after all - still so far away?
When January arrives, it is mostly quite a sobering month. Back to reality and work, miserable weather, the money is tight, not much to celebrate and the summer vacations seem unbelievably far away. In such a disillusioning surrounding it is hard to get on with the New Year's resolution. We give it a try but after the first relapse it seems hopeless and we slightly fall back into our old habits and rhythm. Mostly we are back to "normal" latest by February.
You might ask yourself by now "So what, how is that supposed to help me?"
Well, first of all my recommendation to my clients is the following: Make your New Year's resolution but take it easy in January, be kind to yourself, arrange regular islands of joy and relaxation for yourself (e.g. a nice hot bath in the evening with candle light and relaxing music, invite some friends over to dinner, get out into nature on your free days) and think your resolution through, maybe discuss it with friends and make an action plan for it. If you are still willing to go through with your New Year's resolution at the end of January, beginning of February, go for it.
O.K., January is more or less over - so what to do now?
Now, are you still ready to go for your New Year's resolution? Do you have a goal you want to reach? So, let's get started, the following 10 Points are going to help you to accomplish your New Year's resolutions and reach your goals:
"First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do."
- Epictetus (Greek Stoic Philosopher, AD 55 - AD 135)
1. Make sure you know what you want and ask yourself if you really want it from all your heart. Or do you rather feel forced to do so by your reflection in the mirror, your bad conscious, your partner, family, friends, and/or colleagues?
You might actually think that it does not matter why and how you decide on doing something? Unfortunately the answer is ‘No'. Your strong will to accomplish something is the most important part to start with. If you do not really want to do or achieve something, the possibility you won't is rather big.
2. Write your goal down, I mean literally take a pen and a piece of paper and write it down with your hand. Do not use your Computer, typewriter or think you have got it in your mind, write it down. The connection between our hands and our brain is amazing. As good as you can get something off your soul by writing it down (the reason why most people write a diary), you can use writing with your hand to anchor a positive intention in your subconscious mind. Writing down a goal is a powerful reminder of what you really want: it helps you to gain clarity about your goal and to focus on it. Writing your goal down also might give you new insights; it can give you direction and keep you on track.
3. Be as clear and as specific as possible about reaching your goal. Make sure you can measure it:
• In what time frame do you want it?
• How much of it do you want?
• Where do you want it?
• With whom do you want it?
Example 1: I want to double my last year's income by October 2010 with half of my clients in London (yeah, I wish ;-) ).
Example 2: By 31st July 2010 I and my business partner want to have hired 5 more employees for our company branch in Birmingham.
4. Make an action plan how to reach your goal. What do you have to do? What do you have to do more off? What do you have to do less? Who can support you?
5. Think of one action you can start with today and do it.
6. Tell other people about it and ask someone you trust to hold you accountable for it and allow them to do so.
7. Every day once, or even better twice, take some alone time and make sure you are not going to be disturbed. The best is to do the following exercise shortly before you sleep and/or immediately after waking up: Close your eyes and imagine you have already reached your goal, cool, isn't it? Make it as vivid as you can and completely enjoy the good feelings. What would your future "You" advise your present "You"? Whenever you are ready come back to the present, take the good feelings and recommendations with you and open your eyes with a big smile.
8. Make sure you commit to your goal every day. But if there is one day you might have the feeling you failed or you have a relapse, do not give up. Again, be nice to yourself, enjoy the one day off your commitment and then just start over again the next day. Be prepared that those days might come. If so, just accept it, it is completely natural and it will be alright. The most important thing is that you do not give up, just continue. One day you will wake up and you are there.
9. Once you have reached your goal, celebrate and make your celebration as big as possible and include all the people who were your companions on your way to your success. Pat yourself on the back and smile all over your face. Tell yourself that you have done great.
10. For bigger goals make sure you set mile stones to make it easier to measure your success. With each milestone you can check you are still on the right track and adjust if necessary. Again celebrate reaching each single one of your milestones.
** Sorry, but I am German after all :-). For all of you who do not know what Feuerzangenbowle is: it is a hot drink made of red spiced wine above which a sugar-cone is set alight with rum to make the sugar drop into the wine - and yes ;-) I know what the combination of alcohol and sugar does to us... There is a very famous and almost as old movie with the same name, starring Heinz Rühmann. The movie is a timeless one and gained cult film status at many German Universities. If you want to learn more, click here
Extra health tip:
For all vegetarians and everyone else still thinking they are something good by eating and drinking soy products, please read this article by Catherine Ebeling - RN, BSN, co-author - The Fat Burning Kitchen, The article is recommended by Mike Geary, Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist:
My goal is to give as many people as possible access to these simple yet highly effective tips. Hence I would be happy if you forward this e-mail to family, friends and colleagues. This is a monthly newsletter.
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