From a couch in rainy Los Angeles, a feeling of hope wishes that this period of new beginnings has inspired a sense of focus and determination to bring about the change that we have intended for ourselves in 2017.
Whether we set out to begin a new regimen on the first of January, or to resolve our bad habits, we now find ourselves weeks into the New Year. At this moment, let us take the time to ask ourselves, and answer honestly, “How am I doing with my resolution(s) so far?” For many of us, the obligations and stresses of daily life will lead us to an answer of “Not so well.”
The intention of the following collection of ideas is simply to offer an alternative approach to sticking to those 2017 resolutions. For some, it will be a totally different perspective, a brand new perception of the process of making a change. For others, this approach may already be, consciously or unconsciously, the foundation of the process. For the purpose of this article, the examples of resolutions that will be provided are based off of an educated, experienced, personal background in fitness, nutrition, and sports.
First, let’s look into the meaning of resolutions.
The dictionary defines the word, in the simplest of terms, by “a firm decision to do or not to do something.” That is exactly what it must be in our minds, a firm decision. Not “Maybe I will” or “I’ll try” or “We’ll see.” Those thoughts are not firm decisions. Therefore, in some cases, our resolutions may not be resolutions after all. Depending on our mindset, our resolution could be nothing more than a desire. So, for those of us who have not been up to par with our New Year’s resolutions, let’s start looking at the change we want to make and begin seeing it as a DECISION. We must consider our resolution a decision of absolute firmness and certainty. Easier said than done, right? How do we begin this approach to the change we want to make in 2017? How is it possible when the world around us demands so much of our energy and pulls us away from our vision of improvement?
We can start by asking ourselves the question, “What does my resolution mean to me, personally?”
Here’s the thing. Every thought, idea, goal, and action stems from a root. That root is the Intention. For example, as mentioned, the intention of this article is to serve others (specifically for their New Year’s resolutions.) That intention resulted in thoughts and ideas (about the specific topic) that could potentially do the job of serving others. From those thoughts and ideas, a goal was created. The goal became “to write an article.” Finally, the goal resulted in the action of writing the article into existence. Can we see that it all manifested from the intention?
It works the same way for our resolutions. What the question of “What does my resolution mean to me, personally?” is really asking is “What is the intention of my resolution?” Once we find the answer to that question, we discover what our resolution means to us, personally, and we can then move forward accordingly. We must take our time. We must sit down and search within ourselves for that answer. We each will find our own. Award-winning actor Jim Carey states “Our intention is everything. Not a single thing on this planet has ever been accomplished without intention.” Our resolutions and desires for change come from somewhere or something. It is the job, of each of us, to find where that is. By re-conditioning our mindset, we begin to travel the path to the answer.
By now, we understand that this alternative approach to our New Year’s resolutions is all about the way we think. It highlights the idea that “Our MINDSET is the key to our change and success.” Let’s break it down a little further and watch this approach in action. Together, let’s create the intention, as we continue reading, “To introduce to our minds new strategies that will serve and strengthen our commitment to our goals.”
Suppose our 2017 resolution is To go to the gym five days per week. One can assume that this resolution stems from an intention along the lines of “to get in shape.” Now that we have clarity of intention, we can more easily find out what the resolution means to us. For example, if Luke wants to go to the gym five days per week, and he is clear on his intention to get in shape, he then will be able to discover what the resolution means to him. After taking the time to sit and focus on his goal, Luke may realize that his desire to get in shape is a result of a family member becoming obese. Luke wants to get in shape for his overall well-being so that he, himself, can avoid obesity and other disease. Luke now has the pieces to the puzzle. His resolution means something to him. He is ready to take the next step, action. Because his resolution resonates deep within, Luke is able to find the strength, courage, motivation, and focus to act on his resolution over and over again. This is what we call COMMITMENT. As individuals, we each have our own puzzle to solve when it comes to our New Year’s resolution. Very few of us complete that puzzle before diving in. Making a change through a resolution is simply the act of making a commitment to oneself. The more in touch we are with the origin of our resolution, the stronger our ability will be to make the commitment to follow through. What is our intention? What does our resolution really, truly mean to us?
Time is another aspect of the mindset that serves immense importance when it comes to our resolutions for the New Year.
When considering our 2017 resolution, our perception of time could be setting us up for failure without us even knowing. For example, Nicole has a 2017 resolution to avoid alcohol until June. Her intentions are clear, she knows what her resolution means to her, and she is ready for action. Time is holding Nicole back and making it more and more difficult to stay away from her bad habits because her perception of time whispers in her ear “five months left” or “It’s only been a few weeks” or “This is taking forever.” Nicole, and we all, would reap great benefit from thinking in terms of moments. This does not mean we should foolishly disregard the perception of time that keeps us organized in our daily lives. It simply means that, when our focus is upon our resolution, we should think moment to moment. Thinking in terms of moments slows things down and turns each situation into a choice. For example, if Nicole is feeling tempted to crack open a beer, but she is thinking in terms of moments, she will find herself in a moment of choice. In this moment of choice, she is more inclined to make a responsible decision and avoid the alcohol. In the same instance of temptation, had Nicole’s perception been “It hasn’t even been a month, and I’m already craving,” there would have been a much higher chance of her giving in and taking the drink. But because she thought in terms of moments, she became conscious of a choice, and that moment allowed her to slow down and remember her puzzle. When it comes to the ability to stay dedicated to a resolution, a simple adjustment in our perception of time could be the missing link.
In conclusion, for many of us, having the right mindset is the difference between a lasting 2017 resolution that yields positive change and a far-fetched desire on a dead end road.
We, the human race, are one of extraordinary capabilities. We’ve been to the moon, cured disease, and continue to set new records every day. The requirements for a healthy lifestyle are simple. Be more active, train the heart with cardiovascular exercise and build lean muscle with resistance exercise. Eat nutritious foods with more healthy nutrients and less refined sugar. Drink a lot of water and get enough sleep. We are surrounded by resources that can make all of this a reality for us. We have all the answers, yet so many of us lead unhealthy lives. It is the level of discipline, motivation, and commitment that needs development and improvement. We must become more aware of the role that our mind plays in the process of change. The beauty of it all is that when we do slip up, make a mistake, or break our resolution, we can move onto the next moment. If one wakes up in the morning, even after a week straight of mistakes, he or she has the ability to start over. As we take our first breath each morning, let’s acknowledge that our mindset is the key to a successful 2017. And as we exhale, as we give that breath back, let us understand that “this day” hasn’t happened yet. It will be created in each of our moments, through each of our choices, from each of our intentions.
Happy New Year! Let’s be grateful for another trip around the sun!