HeartWise Core Values Cards

Two reasons we don’t stick to our New Year’s Resolutions

There are two reasons we don’t stick to our New Year’s Resolutions: lack of commitment and focus. Are you making progress on your 2013 resolutions yet? Have you already lost your list or given up on that new diet and exercise program? Or perhaps like me, you are starting to chip away at your goals, one action at a time.

I am taking action daily on several of my goals for 2013:

It’s been a long time since I set official New Year’s Goals or Resolutions. I think from now on I will call them New Year’s Commitments! In the past, I would make dozens of resolutions about how I was going to change my life, build my business and revolutionize the world. I had big dreams, aspirations and audacious goals. Rarely did I follow through on any of those resolutions.

There were two key ingredients missing: commitment and focus.

When we have an idea that we need to make a change or do something differently than we are now, it’s just that, an idea. From the place of idea, we have to move to a place of decision. Let me give you an example.

For years my husband and I talked about moving back to the west coast from Texas. We were serious about it but we hadn’t really decided to make it happen. We just talked about it, a lot. Our friends didn’t believe us when we began to say, “This time we are serious.” What happened? We decided. We picked a date about a year and a half away. We knew it would take time to get our finances, current home and lives in order to make this type of move. Plus, we wanted to move before our oldest child started high school. Once we decided, we realized we had to make some big changes in how we were currently living in order for our goal to reach fruition. That’s where commitment comes in.

Don’t give up what you want most for what you want in the moment.”

This quote became our mantra. We stopped eating out, cut back on kids’ after school activities and weekend outings. We didn’t know how we were going to be able to buy a house, find my husband a new job or sell my business. But it didn’t matter. We were 100% committed to making it happen. We stayed focused on the goal of getting there and prayed everything would fall into place.

The definition of commitment is to pledge one’s self wholeheartedly to a cause, course of action or relationship. How committed are you?

Along with 100% commitment, we made a very-detailed and specific list of what we needed to accomplish and chipped away at it. In the case of remodeling and preparing our home for sale, we focused on one room at a time. Just like the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant?” “One bite at a time,” that’s what our lives were like, especially in the final 6 months before our move. We had to constantly return our focus to the goal of moving. If we lost focus, we didn’t make progress and got stressed out.

What does my story about moving have to do with building your business, losing weight or spending more time with family? Ask yourself these questions. In fact, grab a journal and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (my personal preference but not for another 11 days) and spend some time really considering what you want to be different.

Writing prompts:

  • Take a look at your goals and resolutions: are they achievable in one year?
  • If your answer is yes, set a date. If your answer is no, what part of the goal is most important for 2013?
  • Are your goals what you REALLY want or are they SHOULDS? “I should do this because…” you fill in the blank. If you find a goal on your list that is a should: delete it.
  • Test your level of commitment for each goal, be honest with yourself, no one is reading this but you. If you are not committed, what’s holding you back? Fear? Doubt? Make sure you write about that, too!
  • Pick one goal on your list. Write a detailed list of what you need to accomplish this goal. Then note where you need to start. Break the list down into doable bites.
  • What have you accomplished so far this year? Celebrate your success. If you are the person who looks at the calendar and exclaims, “It’s already mid-January, oh no! I haven’t reached my goals yet,” relax. Test your level of commitment, renew it and take action.

 Success follows commitment and action.

My story had a happy ending, happier than we anticipated. Because we were committed to moving to Santa Barbara, CA in June of 2012 no matter how we got there or what kind of house or job we would find, everything fell into place perfectly. My husband kept his job in Dallas and is happy telecommuting and not working in an office. I sold my publishing business and am rebuilding. We found the perfect house and didn’t have to downsize, phew! The kids are in good schools and making friends. We are less than 2 miles from the ocean and have a gorgeous mountain view out our kitchen window. It wasn’t easy getting here, it took a lot of hard work and a lot more attention to detail than either of us are good at, but we made it.

I personally am turning that same level of commitment and focus towards my life this year. What have I got to lose? Well, about 50 pounds! Onward ho!

Dr. Minette Riordan is an author, speaker and coach who is loving life in Santa Barbara, CA. When she is not writing or working, she loves crafts, cooking and long walks on the beach with her husband of 17 years and two kids. Her newest workshop is Content to Cash: Transform Your Copy Into a Customer Magnet.