See if this sounds familiar. The first of the year rolls around and you say, “Maybe I’ll try one of those New Year’s resolution things this year!” So you tell yourself that you’re going to lose weight, start exercising, read more, or whatever it is that you would like to do.
So you go to the grocery store and buy vegetables, you sign up at the gym, and boldly march into your local library. For the next couple of weeks you are a vegetable-eating, weight-lifting and page-turning machine, but then a couple of months pass and you’re back where you started—overweight, out of shape, and as stupid as ever. Does that sound about right?
Then you say, “Well, that figures! I’ve always heard New Year’s resolutions don’t work and now I know it for a fact!” But the New Year’s resolution isn’t the problem. The problem is you are missing a couple of key steps.
If you want positive change in your life, you need three specific things. If you skip any one of the three things, the change you were hoping for tips over and crashes like a three-legged stool with only two legs.
The first thing you need is a declaration which is motivated by the desire for change. That would be something like your New Year’s resolution. It would be the moment you get fed up with the stagnation in your life and you decide to do something about it.
The second thing you’ll need is a plan. It’s best if you’re not inventing that plan yourself. Whatever change you’re trying to implement, you can bet someone else has already tried it and found success. It’s worth a Google search to find out what method works well for others and would best fit into your lifestyle.
The third, and most often ignored step, is accountability. It’s a powerful thing, having to face another person and explain why you didn’t show up. It’s awkward and painful and that’s why we all would like to skip this step–so we can still have an escape hatch if we decide to back out. Once you make your declaration and choose a plan, then it’s time to hire a personal trainer and wellness coach, or buy a book and join a book club.
None of these steps guarantees you success, but combining them exponentially increases your chances of creating lasting change. And what better way is there to celebrate the passing of another year than to mark it with achievement and growth?