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So how many of you are already thinking about New Year's resolutions? Are you dreading the thought? Are you excited to start fresh? The unfortunate fact about resolutions is that less than half of all people who make resolutions maintain them longer than six months. The upside of this fact, however, is that just the act of creating a goal makes you ten times more likely of achieving it.
I am just like everyone else this time of year. I am thinking about my life and all the areas I would like to improve. I believe strongly that we are meant to evolve as people, and the only way we can do this is by growing and stretching ourselves all the time. The way we grow is by evaluating ourselves and trying to improve areas that need some fine tuning.
My mother was the queen of self improvement. She loved the process of taking seminars, reading books, going on retreats, working with various therapists, all in the hopes of evolving as a woman. I wish she were here with me today because she would be ecstatic that I am following her footsteps. We would have embarked on this journey together as mother and daughter. The wonderful part of this story is that all of her children, my brother, sister and I, all have a deep desire to improve ourselves regularly. Self improvement and evolution are things we each deal with daily as a Rabbi, a Psychotherapist and a Life Coach. She would be proud! We have the family of self help experts.
Part of making changes is preparation. Too often, people want the quick fix, the easy fix, and they do not prepare to make lasting change. If you want to improve your life you need to do the work. It is not going to happen overnight, and it is not going to happen without consistent effort. Taking a little bit of time prior to setting goals, to prepare yourself and do your research, will benefit you in the long run. This year make a commitment to take a different path to succeed. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Make room for your goal
Let's say for example that you want to lose 20 pounds. You don't make any changes to prepare for this goal other than hope it will work this time. People fail because they are unprepared and because they don't move things around in their life to make room for the goal. Have a spouse or friend watch your kids a couple of hours a week so you can work out. Let go of another commitment that doesn't excite you anymore so you can create time to get healthy and lose weight. Make room in your life for this new goal.
2. Create a detailed plan
Simply put, plans work. Just hoping and praying that you will lose weight or pay off some debt is not going to work by itself. You need to put pen to paper and map out a plan. Are you going to stop eating out every month or use coupons as a way to save some money? Are you going to meet with a financial expert? Plan how you are going to succeed this new year. Jot down your ideas and then get more specific as you go.
3. Tell your friends
What is the best way to hold yourself accountable for new goals? Share it with the world. Keeping a goal to yourself basically protects you if you fail - nobody will know or care. Just the act of telling others what you intend to do increases your chances of succeeding. You will have a support group and people checking in on you. There is a reason why people hire personal trainers and life coaches. Someone else is cheering them on, holding them accountable, pushing them outside their comfort zone and helping them succeed.