Jan 032011

Resolutions at the arrival of each new year have a bad reputation.  Many people as they grow older stop making any resolutions because of subconscious memories of past failures.  “Why fail again?” is the thought of the day.

In past years, each of us is guilty of getting super-ambitious and creating resolutions that had little chance of success and never got out of the starting gate.  Worse yet, we didn’t follow through with the basics of success — which is to break the goal/resolution down into small, actionable baby steps that are easy to understand.  We didn’t put those small steps on the calendar.  Not surprisingly, we didn’t even get started, because the resolution looked so big and intimidating.

Consequently, many of us remember these past failures and miss the fantastic opportunity the new year’s resolution cycle brings.

What matters more: The choices you made yesterday or the choices you are about to make today? Forget yesterday.  Forget last year.  Forget the last ten years.  Today is a bright, fresh new day.  Make it a masterpiece.  Resolutions have extraordinary power to make good things happen, if you do it right.

What’s doing it right in regards to NYRs?

1) Don’t make your resolutions huge monumental items.

I think it is best to make your resolutions about changing bad habits and adding good ones.  Good habits turn into bigger and bigger things, building momentum as the years come and go.  Momentum is built by starting small and building a record of success.

2) Develop each resolution into an action plan.

Action plans are broken down into small manageable steps and measurable milestones on a calendar.

3) Decide that this is the year you will succeed.

Don’t be surprised when you do.  Decision is empowering.  You have the will power. The best way to really decide is to write down in black and white why you want this resolution.  The why is always more powerful a motivator that the what.

For example, lets say your resolution / decision is the all-too-familiar drop 20 pounds by summer one.  Write it down, but don’t stop there.  How will you do it?  Write down the plan.  Why do you want to do it?  Write that down too.  How much progress is reasonable by what date?  Perhaps 4 pounds per month or 1 pound per week?  Perhaps start out a bit slower with a 1/2 pound a week for the first 4 weeks.  Write that down too.

Now, it is important to face reality.  In this case, eating less and better is the obvious answer, far more effective than hitting the treadmill while still eating half a pizza at dinner.

So, what are the simple steps to get there?

Last year, I did lose 25 pounds.  My plan was simplicity itself — eat less, eat better, and don’t get in too big a hurry.

How? I downloaded LiveStrong.com on my iPhone for $2.99, put in my weight and set my goal to lose one pound per week.  The LiveStrong app is a great value.  It makes it brilliantly easy to look up foods and mark down everything you put in your mouth.  It figures out the calories you should consume to lose one pound per week.  It gives you credit for working out.  Total time spent at each meal on LiveStrong is less than two minutes and is easy to do because your smartphone is always within arm’s reach.

Writing consumption down makes you lose weight far faster than hours on the elliptical.  Self destructive choices like finishing off my daughter’s plate go away effortlessly!  The milestones were easy to see as I dropped more than four pounds every month.  Momentum builds quickly.

Don’t miss the wonderful opportunity each new year brings.  By all means, make achievable 2011 resolutions and write them down.   Then, go the next few steps and make simple action plans, breaking the resolutions down into small steps, with milestones to keep you on track and build momentum.  Write it all down.  Just as importantly, set a repeating alert to review them once each week.

Resolutions are a great first step to making 2011 your best year, ever.

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