As it goes this time of year, marketing wizards bombard us with noisy ads about smoking cessation, diets, exercise equipment, healthy living, and or anything else that might influence our New Year resolutions, and allow their company to rake in big bucks. So I ask, are you the type of person who makes a resolution? Did you know that most resolutions are broken in about two weeks? The conventional wisdom says it takes anywhere from 21 to 30 days to make a habit. I personally can’t make it that long unless I decide to forgo the resolution and create a “theme” instead. By theme, I mean a lifestyle change that doesn’t force me to do something suddenly, forcibly, or that will cause me to stress out if I slip up a little here or there. In other words, a resolution is “I have to” whereas a theme is “I choose to”.
Let me share an example. Since I’m a parent coach, I’ll talk about a common parenting dilemma. Many clients state that they wish they had more patience with their kids and some make resolutions by saying “starting tomorrow, I’m going to count to 10 before I react toward my child”. Well let’s be serious, how many of us can first, remember that we promised to count, and second, make it to the count of 2 before we’re instinctively flying off the handle? It simply isn’t that easy because our natural tendencies take over. So what can we do when our resolutions defeat us?
Creating a themed life style change such as: during the New Year, I CHOOSE to be more patient with my children, can help. Yes, I’ll use the strategy of counting to 5 as one way I can help myself, but I realize to make patience a permanent lifestyle change that comes naturally, I’ll have to do more than just count. I might try deep breathing, or better yet, I will plan on morning relaxation techniques or reflection as many times a week as my schedule permits. During my relaxation, I will first review the reasons why I want to become more patient. What will this do for me, my kids and our relationship? What benefits are to be gained that make this effort worth while? I might focus on my children and visualize myself interacting with them with patience and love. I can see myself getting down to their level and ending a difficult situation with a hug. Realizing that I am a human, I will forgive myself when I do not follow through the way I desire and strive to do better later in the day, tomorrow, or after my office project deadline at the end of the week. I might keep a journal to remind myself of my successes and disappointments so I can repeat good strategies and tweak others.
Okay… you get the idea. Resolutions aren’t always easy, but if you allow yourself to be human and still work hard, creating a New Year’s theme can become a lifestyle change that brings you the results you desire.
So what theme will you create? How many strategies can you think of to bring the theme to reality? Remember, there’s no pressure here, but if you do slip up, how will you forgive yourself and then get back on track? How will you celebrate when you get your results? Oh yeah… you gotta celebrate!
Be inspired, and if you would like a coach to help you with your strategies and also hold you accountable, contact Keyuri at http://www.ontheballparent.com/ for a complimentary, no strings attached, consultation. Good luck and blessings to you and yours in 2011.