December 27, 2013
Someone once suggested that we make as many New Year’s resolutions as possible, so we have lots of failures to choose from. Maybe this isn’t so far-fetched, if your goal is to get a bad start to your New Year.
Of course, none of us wants to do that, but yet year after year we create the same resolutions we know we won’t keep, follow the same tired “rules” we know won’t work, laugh at the abysmal failure rates reported by those who track New Year’s Resolution stats, promise that this year will be different, and swallow all of this poppycock with a large glass of alcohol and a piece of cake that we said we wouldn’t drink or eat anymore.
It’s time to end this nonsense of making—and not keeping—New Year’s resolutions. Let’s start with the “rules” that typically don’t work:
Rule #1: Make SMART goals. Many people tend to focus more on making specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals instead of actually keeping them!
Rule #2: Making simple and short-term goals. Sometimes goals can be so simple and short-term that they’re over before January 2nd.
Rule #3: Recruit an accountability buddy. Accountability buddies are great, unless they’re the type to blow his or her resolutions away as fast as you do.
Rule #4: Don’t be too hard on yourself. While you shouldn’t make unattainable goals, some people tend to be so easy on themselves that their resolutions are watered down to nothing by the end of New Year’s Eve.
So what’s the solution? Not make New Year’s resolutions anymore? Sort of. Many view the New Year as a time for a clean slate or a fresh start, but that can be false and wishful thinking.
My first suggestion is don’t wait until New Year’s, which is often the most tumultuous, stressful, time of the year, to engage in the silliness of trying to improve yourself—do it now!
Imagine yourself now (not January 1, 2014) being the wise, confident, healthier, fitter, happier person you want to be with full-blown optimism. Picture yourself with a new partner, exercising regularly, eating healthy, having that new job, having a slimmer body and socializing more—or whatever the idea of you that you want to form.
That’s my suggestion for New Year’s 2014. No resolutions. Just align yourself with your chosen self.
- Choose the version of yourself that you daydream and visualize about in a present (not future), positive (not negative) way. For example, “I am this,” not “I don’t want to be that.”
- See yourself already aligned doing, acting and being your new version of yourself, through careful, patient, relaxed meditative visualization—not promising that you will, but that you are.
- Stay aligned with this new vision by acting from the viewpoint of this new you.
- Use your feelings as guideposts as to whether or not you are aligned with your new chosen version of yourself. Feel good? That’s it! You are aligned.
You can have anything you choose, so recognize that you already have all of the power to change through the way you are already thinking. Be sure your inner chatter is a voice you would want to spend time with. Are you thinking true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind thoughts? If not, you’ll need to exercise new, positive self-talk. It’s not what others are doing to you that prevents the new you from coming out—it’s your own thoughts. You create whatever shows up, so have an enjoyable New Year’s Eve celebrating what you already created, while everyone else around you is still doing the same old thing…expecting new and better results.
Michael Mantell earned his Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania and his M.S. at Hahnemann Medical College, here he wrote his thesis on obesity. He’s served as the Chief Psychologist of Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and the Chief Psychologist for the San Diego Police Department. He provides breakthrough strategies to help business leaders, athletes, individuals and families create healthy, fit and happy trajectories in life. He is the Senior Consultant for Behavioral Sciences for ACE, an international behavior science fitness presenter, an Advisor to numerous companies and fitness organizations, on the Sports Medicine team of The Sporting Club of San Diego and is featured in many international media outlets. He is listed in the greatest.com 2013 “The 100 Most Influential People in Health and Fitness.”