How to make long-lasting resolutions

Sanguine Element 1:
Make a Commitment

 

WHY NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS DON’T WORK

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and what to do instead

So how are those New Year’s Resolutions working out?

I read an article that said more than 80% of the resolutions made for New Year’s are broken by the time February rolls around. 80%!

So rather than beating ourselves up over not succeeding with the resolutions we made, let’s look at it in a different way. As I mentioned last week, the very first element of living a Sanguine Life is to make a commitment.

With resolutions, you’re trying to resolve something. But as I’ll explain in next week’s podcast, “trying” often doesn’t get us very far. With New Year’s Resolutions, we are often excited at the idea of “starting fresh” or “starting again” but often as the month progresses and real life takes over, we lose the enthusiasm and the drive to stay focused on our goals. Then we feel disappointed in ourselves and those resolutions end up on the back burner.

Here’s 4 reasons why New Year’s Resolutions don’t work:

  1. Lack of passion

To succeed at anything, you need to make a commitment. The level of success achieved is dependent on your conviction to achieve that goal. When you create your resolutions, are you really feeling it deep within your soul? What is the intrinsic reason you’re making this commitment?  Think about some of the things that you’ve accomplished in the past – you committed to those, right? You really wanted it, right? Apply that same passion to the commitments you make this year.

  1. Vague resolutions

When your resolutions are too vague they do not lead to a specific desired outcome. Vague resolutions such as “find a new job” do not inspire you to take specific actions. You need to think about the specific steps that you will take to get a new job. Make your goal SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-Bound. Don’t just write down a vague resolution but instead have a step by step plan of how you want to achieve your goals.

  1. Lack of accountability

When making resolutions many people go it alone. If you are looking for a high success rate, find a friend and hold each other accountable. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to be more and do more. Forming a healthy support network will help you make commitments and see them through to the end.

  1. The Fear of Failure (or failing AGAIN)

It is said – if you have no expectations, you can never be disappointed. But that adage isn’t going to help you stretch and achieve new things in your life. In order to reach your goals, you must not only make a commitment and have expectations but also move past the fear of failing.

I say – failure is just a stepping stone to success. As long as you keep showing up and are committed to your goal, you will eventually get there… even if you experience small missteps along the way.

What I want you to do this year instead of making resolutions is actually commit – To make a commitment to yourself.

Think about it – you make a commitment to a marriage, right? For better or worse. If you’re a diabetic, you make a commitment to not eating sugar, right?

But more general resolutions like losing weight or saving more money don’t often get us to where we want to be. We tend to lose interest…

Here are a few tips on how to make a commitment:

  1. Choose only 1-3 commitments at a time and break them down down into small achievable goals

The average number of resolutions an adult makes is 5 – I want you to reduce that number by at least 2! With too many resolutions, you’ll likely lose focus on some and forget the less important ones. Instead, only work on a few commitments at a time and break those down even further but setting small goals that are easier to achieve.

You do not have to wait for New Years to make a commitment and start living your life, on your terms!

  1. Focus on your vision

At the beginning, you may be filled with excitement as you take the first steps to reach your goals. But as the days and weeks go on, you start to lose focus. Or you start to procrastinate, the energy and excitement lessens over time. You may even feel overwhelmed or distraught if you’re not hitting the goals you’ve set in the time frame you had hoped for.

Be clear on each action step – see each one as a separate commitment that will eventually help you reach your ultimate goal. When you accomplish one, mark it off the list and celebrate your success. Then shift your focus to the next step on your list.

  1. Plan for setbacks (or at the very least, don’t let them trip you up).

Another big issue with resolutions? We don’t often plan for the setbacks that we face along the way.  It happens. You may have decided to run a marathon this year but then ended up hurting your foot, making it difficult to continue training. You have to be prepared for – and not get tripped up by – setbacks.

new years resolutions, juice cleanseAt the end of last year, I was hoping to do a 30 day juice cleanse. I was committed. It had been a rough year for me – body, mind, spirit – and I wanted to end the year by focusing on my overall health and really giving myself time to rejuvenate and rest.

But I ran into two problems –

I have a very small refrigerator and to stock my refrigerator with enough produce to make 4 liters of juice per day was a major challenge. It essentially meant going to the market every day.

I don’t have a car so I had to rely on taxis which also proved to be challenging (and expensive). There were some days when I couldn’t find a taxi and did not have enough food to make the 4 liters of juice.

I was fully committed but after 10 days of frustrating setbacks, I decided to shift to smoothies and raw food meals.

It was disappointing. But that’s real life – it doesn’t always work out the way we would like. Yet once I overcame that setback and shifted the plan, I was able to commit to a smoothie and raw food diet. It still gave me some of the benefits of a cleanse while also adapting to the challenges present.

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Now over to you… What 1-3 commitments will you make for 2018? (or even, just for this next quarter?). What are the first action steps you’ll take to achieve them?

2 Comments

  1. Harald Tillmann

    The most important commitment i want to fulfill in the next years is not to exert so much efforts on people i don’t really like as much as my efforts for them have been in the past, and (more importantly…) instead to invest much more efforts for my friends whom i feel i have neglected in the last because of my sometimes-not-well-thought-over zeal to fulfill demands of the “wrong” people (who sometimes even got always MORE demanding instead of being thankful!).
    My father once told me: “The thanks of the nation will be certain to you!” – this was a saying in Germany at the end of the Second World War reflecting the utter deception of most Germans of having been abused, belied and betrayed by the Nazis.
    So i try to give my efforts to people that really earn them in the next years! Thanks a lot, Dear Chrissy, for Your so very useful advices on future commitments – this sounds very reasonable and encouraging!!

    Reply
    • Chrissy Gruninger

      Hi Harald, always lovely to hear from you! And I think that’s a great commitment – our time is so precious and we should be mindful of how we spend it. Showing up more deeply for those who you can really make a difference for and lessening the energy spent on others. Sending you lots of love.

      Reply

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chrissy gruningerChrissy Gruninger is an author and mindset coach. She mentors people on how to live their ONE beautiful life, wherever they may be. Her latest book, Lost and Found in the Land of Mañana explores her life in Costa Rica and both the challenges of working and living abroad as well as the beautiful life we can create from those experiences.

She loves her rainforest beach shack in Costa Rica, the sunshine and the rain and passionately believes that through intentional actions we create more happiness, health and harmony in the world. 

Her goal: to empower others to thrive in an imperfect world.