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Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Resolutions -- Making them Stick

It's that time of year again. Right after we have finished eating, drinking and maybe being a little TOO merry over the holidays it feels time to evaluate the year. What do we want to change for next year? How can we not only set the intention of a resolution but MAKE IT STICK?

This is very special to me this year because it marks one year of declaring that I would heal myself. Now, a year later I am 100% pain and pain pill free and am tremendously proud of myself. I had my setbacks, I had my "hard times" sticking with my goals but I never backed down and am living the rewards every day. Now I will set my goals for 2008 and the main one is that 2008 will be to finances as 2007 was for my health.

I am reading and educating myself on how to best maximize the use of time and in the next few days will set specific goals and mini goals for achieving success. Yes, I also want to drop that holiday weight, exercise more, spend more quality time with my kids, husband, friends AND myself but all of these involve me working on my time management skills so that is where I am starting. I just received Tim Ferris's book "The Four Hour Workweek" for Christmas which came highly recommended to me from my friend Greg Butler at Holistic Personal Development. Thanks Ray (my husband) for the book -- as you know I can't put it down! : ) I am finding it to be wonderfully informative and expect great results after putting into practice all the ideas and useful challenges Tim Ferris puts out there.

OK -- so you now know what MY goals are but what are yours and how will you make them stick past January 10th? Here are some steps that ensure success:

1) Set Goals and MINI goals
I wrote about this before and think it is very important. If you set a HUGE goal like "I want to be in shape" but do not set mini goals on how to do that it makes it more challenging to stick with. For example I want to work on time management so I can figure out how to balance home, work, kids, friends, writing, exercise and "me" time. My first mini goal was to read the Tim Ferris book to get me in the right mindset. My second step will be to sit down and write mini goals for all these areas of my life. My third goal will be to apply the knowledge from the book to the areas of my life and to work out some sort of time window for each. Make them OBTAINABLE, LOGICAL steps to get to your final big goal and you will feel a confidence boost EVERY completed step of the way.

2) Don't Jump Ship if you get off Course!
Wow - this is a biggie. I am sure we all have either heard someone say or said ourselves a variation of the following: "Well I was doing well dieting but then I ate a whole pack of cookies so I am not on a diet anymore" or "I quit smoking but got stressed out and needed a few so now I am a smoker again". ALMOST EVERYONE will have set-backs when changing a habit. Expect them. If you are changing a habit you need to be patient with yourself, forgive yourself and give yourself more chances. When I was healing myself I had days when it seemed I got nothing but bad news and my negative self-talk would start up again. Soon after the aches would follow. Luckily part of educating myself was learning about mindfulness and I would tell myself "Ok Jen -- I know this seems bad -- but you have until tonight to feel badly then you will say your gratitude list and wake up better". It never occurred to me to return to my old ways because I was determined to see results and I knew and believed in what I wanted to achieve. Apologize to yourself, forgive yourself and try again.

3) Believe in Yourself -- Visualize the Outcome and FEEL the Gratitude for it
After seeing the movie "The Secret", reading Deepak Chopra and about the mind/body connection I KNEW I would heal myself. I imagined myself healthy, not going to doctors all the time, chasing after the kids with energy to spare, starting a career and seeing friends and family more often. I would close my eyes and visualize HOW WONDERFUL it would feel to be healthy and be able to accomplish goals. It only took a minute a day but the joy I got from that picture would last me all day. See yourself skinny and in that bathing suit, see yourself accepting an award, see yourself making money and the things you will do with it when you have it. Feel how that would make you feel. If you are getting "off course" it's time to visualize again and KNOW that the end result is worth any sacrifice you feel you are making.

4) Feel Gratitude for the Strides you are Making
Mini goals are great because you get to pat yourself on the back for each step taken. You also need to show yourself gratitude for ANY steps you are taking in the right direction. An example is you have said "no sweets" and you go out to a dinner party. Instead of having your usual 3 cookies you only have 1. Will you beat yourself up for that 1 you had or celebrate that you didn't grab any more? It is important to be GRATEFUL for the self control you did show. This offers you encouragement to keep it up, shows you have strength, builds your self confidence and shows that you are in control.

5) Educate Yourself on the Best Way to Achieve Your Goals
Have you set the same goal of working out more or losing weight every year and gone about it the same way only to fail? Have you set up a rigorous weight training schedule that you can't keep up with? Have you tried quitting smoking cold turkey and not been able to make it stick? Maybe you need a different approach.

There is SO much information on the internet about ANY goal you want to achieve. Do the research, find a DIFFERENT way for you to achieve your goal(s) this year. While educating yourself ask if what you are reading resonates within you? Can you see yourself sticking with yoga better than weight training? If you educate yourself you might even come up with "back-up" methods to achieve your goals. For example -- if you've always wanted to try yoga and aerobics set your intention to exercise using EITHER method that way if you don't like one you can try the other. Where I live there is a Free Exercise on Demand channel where you can try different workouts. The more options you have to achieve your goal(s) the less likely you will abandon it.

6) Pair up with a Buddy
Do you have any friends with similar goals? Any way you can help each other? Most of the times that I go for a walk and all the times I cross country ski it is with friends. Not only do I LOVE the time with my friends but it also is harder NOT to workout if you have a buddy that is counting on you as well. Similarly I recently became part of a Mastermind Group. It helps so much to set intentions, share ideas and have a support system. Every 2 weeks we meet through Skype and set an intention of what we hope to accomplish over the next 2 weeks. To set that intention helps me to keep my priorities and STAY on track. A GREAT place to meet people online, find a buddy or Mastermind Group and set some goals is Personal Development Partners -- Founded by Aaron Potts.

Whether you are trying to heal pain, gain success, achieve financial wealth, quit smoking, get in better shape, bond with friends and family, gain better time management skills or whatever other resolutions you are hoping to achieve -- I believe these steps will help you STAY on track. I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy and successful 2008! Remember only you control your own mind, thoughts and actions and if you BELIEVE you will ACHIEVE. Thank you Stacie for suggesting I write on New Year's Resolutions... it has been therapeutic and fun to reflect on the past year and set my intentions for 2008!


Marina Martin said...

Your progress over the last year is a huge thing to celebrate! It must feel great to start 2008 feeling healthy and pain-free.

You're right-on when you talk about setting mini-goals within larger goals. I'm a firm believer that we can accomplish anything if we have a detailed plan in place. Then, the real work becomes just following a list of ordered tasks, instead of confronting the enormity of our entire goal at once every morning.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hi Marina, Thanks for coming by and for your comments. It IS great to start off 2008 healthy and I really feel like since I could heal myself -- anything else should come easy! I'm more excited about this year than I ever remember being about a new year. Happy New Year! Hope to see you back. Gratefully, Jenny

Greg said...

Great post, Jenny.

I have never thought along the lines of MINI goals but I will now. Thanks.

It's wonderful to read about your triumph over pain and pain pills. I'm so happy for you. You exude positive energy and it is a pleasure to read your writings.

It's wonderful to have you as a friend. Happy New Year! I'm sure it will be a great one.

Jenny Mannion said...

Hey Greg, I am so happy you enjoy reading my blog. I love reading yours and am very inspired by your blog, writing and knowledge. I am very grateful for your friendship and KNOW we'll both have an exciting and successful 2008!

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