Tis the season! It is the time of year filled with food, fun, fellowship and lots of good cheer. It is also when everyone begins the fuss about “ New Years Resolutions”. You begin to assess where you are in life and seek ways to become a better version of yourself: deciding to make changes for the New Year ahead. According to www.Merriam-webster.com, a resolution is “ the act of answering or solving a problem. Yet many of us make resolutions that are short-term band-aids and not necessarily long-term fixes.
How can we prepare to hit the restart button with practical lifetime resolutions?
First, let’s look at the top 7 most common categories that resolutions are made. According to Statista.com, weight loss, exercising more, making or saving more money, quitting a bad habit or starting a good one, focusing on self-care, career change and learning a new skill were the top categories for resolutions at the beginning of 2018. All sound familiar?
Here are a few intentional steps to make lifetime resolutions that we can commit to beyond January.
Look for the “Why” more than the “What”- Seek the Root Cause of the behavior
So, I know it’s a more scientific approach but one worth looking into. We need to keep in mind that in some cases we are trying to solve real-life problems, not simply complete a checklist. There are some habits and issues that have an underlying “root” cause; what’s on the surface is not the entire story. For example, if you overeat is it because this is the way you deal with stress, anxiety, anger or even boredom?
Look into when you eat the most, what you are eating and what is your emotional state at the time? Do you turn to the typical “comfort food” or sweets? For example, if you eat these things when you feel bad or after a long day, then you relate eating of a particular food with feeling good.
In this case, if you can identify why you do something, you can begin to address how to change the action or habit. If you eat sweets to feel good and desire to lose weight, then the focus is on what healthier habits can you choose when these urges occur to “feel good”?
Of course, not all habits are so simply resolved and may require a deep look into yourself; your environment and maybe even cultural habits. Regardless of what the issue is, take it one step at a time until you feel you have come close to the real source behind your habit. Then you can look into the best ways to correct it.
Research Before Remedy
Before you start a new weight loss program or self-care routine do your homework and research thoroughly. Word of mouth is always a great method of promotion and validation of a product or service, however, not everything that works for your friends may work for you.
Before you invest any time or money, invest time in assessing all your options, details of the product, success rate and how you can apply this to your everyday life. If there is a class or course take it. If there is a YouTube video, meeting, conference call or consultation line utilize it to obtain all the information to make an educated decision.
Additionally, you also want to compare product and value, you may be able to get the same product for less without losing on quality. Once you are comfortable with your research, then move forward. You do not have to commit fully up front unless the product or service requires. Take advantage of free trials and testing out to make sure you will be satisfied.
For aspects such as career change, before researching outside factors it is important to introspectively consider what lights a fire in you? How do you want to spend the rest of your 9-5 years? How can you combine these two things to make a life of wealth? Once you answer the latter, take other steps such as attending a networking event or join a national organization in your field of work to widen your exposure.
Evaluate your current skills sets with the needs of your field and positions you may be considering. A new job may mean going back to school, new training or a certification and you’ll want to know this in advance. Lastly, comparing your skill sets and the salary range is also very important when seeking a career change.
However, do not look only at the money, read the job descriptions carefully. Save yourself time if it is truly not the right fit. Whatever your desired outcome, do not be motivated solely by emotions.
Know when it’s too much to handle alone – Go to a professional
There is a lot you can do by yourself and sometimes even in the comfort of your own home. However, there are times you may need to seek professional help; especially if you are someone that has tried to “kick a habit” unsuccessfully for years. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help, whether is trying to quit smoking, re-doing your resume, learning to cook or getting therapy.
Know when to enlist the help of an expert. In many cases, having professional help can alleviate another aspect of stress off your plate. When you are seeking professional services, it might be costly, do not forget to see what discounts, coupons or coverage can aid in securing the service.
Roadmap to success
After you chose your resolutions and identify the right resources it is important to make a plan of action. With the end result in mind, create a roadmap of steps and establish timelines for how you will get there. You can create a 30-day plan with weekly check-ins or daily discipline to meet your goals.
I highly recommend you place these goals somewhere you can visibly see them at least once a day. You can make a dream board and hang it in your room, post list on the refrigerator, put notes on your mirror and doors. In our world of technology, there is literally an app tool for almost everything; choose one that meets your need.
If you decide to use a life coach or other professional services make sure to budget this into your finances if there is a fee. As well make sure to coordinate all activities into your schedule, so you can manage your time and life events. Whatever your plan of action, make sure you have a way to maintain your goals and track your progress.
Most important is not to get caught up in the hype of the season; you don’t want to pay the cost of making a rushed decision. This year, make resolutions that will truly give you the opportunity not just for a new you this year, but resolutions that can last a lifetime.