With a New Year come the inevitable resolutions to do better. We vow to lose the weight this year, clean out that closet, change jobs, work harder, improve our finances or any number of other well-meant notions of looking, feeling, acting, being better. We mean it this year! We really do! And yet, by mid February the intensely-held motivations slip away into familiar habits like old slippers; comfortable, reliable, well-worn and needing to be replaced.
How can we realize what is genuinely in our minds and maybe even in our hearts to achieve? The answer is in the practice of creating a clear intention and establishing a disciplined practice of focus: one thought, feeling and action at a time.
Here’s a 5-step plan to proceed:
- Set a clear intention:
- Make it short (easy to memorize and repeat like a mantra).
- Make it positive.
- Make it present tense.
- Use “I” language.
- For example; instead of the usual “I am going to lose weight this year”, we can reframe with: “I eat healthy meals and move my body every day”.
- Create an action plan:
- Fill in a blank monthly calendar with daily experiences that support your intention.
- Be specific with your time blocks.
- Say, “no” to experiences that do not support your intention. Remember, “No.” is a complete sentence. You don’t have to justify your choices to anyone.
- Follow your plan with discipline, especially for the first month.
- When you stray (which is likely, since you’re human), begin again. No judgement, or hesitation, and by all means, don’t throw out your plan because you slipped up.
- Reward yourself frequently:
- Weekly acknowledgments for the first month.
- Replace your usual rewards with new ones. For example, if I am on a new health plan, instead of getting ice cream as a treat, I buy a new lip gloss!
- Keep the rewards coming until the habit becomes a way of life. They don’t have to be material, treat yourself to a day in nature or a bubble bath.
- Accountability is the cornerstone of success:
- Share your intention and plan with someone else or join a group with the same goals. Going it alone is not heroic. Just harder.
- Keep a journal to process the mental/emotional aspects of the experience.
- Engage with a friend, loved one or professional to work out the details of the journey.
- Love yourself no matter what:
- The only way you can affect change is at the moment you accept who and how you are in the present.
- Remember you are not broken, just learning more about who you are.
- Life wants you to be happy. Create enough quiet time to hear the intuitive messages that are trying to guide you.