Enhancing the Old

At the beginning of every new year we read about how people should and do make resolutions that they will try to fulfill in the coming year. Usually noble ones, such as losing weight, eating healthier, exercising more, and so on. Then we turn the page and there are tons of comments telling us that we all make new year resolutions, but we are going to fail. Thanks for the encouragement!

Maybe we “fail” (and that is such a downer to use that word) because we are unrealistic to begin with. I want to frame this by introducing a couple of different perspectives about new year resolutions. The new year is an opportunity to try something new. Let’s keep it connected to what happened in the past, because at the end of every year we are encouraged to reflect back on the year and to note our accomplishments, as well as, what we would like to change. We need to carry these accomplishments into the new year with us and not leave them as a noted accomplishment of the past.

I believe in continual growth and think of it as a spiral. This relates to new year resolutions in that we acknowledge and then build on what we do well, rather than trying to venture out into completely unchartered territory. So if you exercised once a month, what was it that brought you to that point of exercising? What was the motivation? What was the support? What was the challenge? Capture that, learn from it, magnify it and apply it so that now you exercise once a week. In other words, our new goals need a link to our past accomplishments and we can make this a reality by building on what we do well. We need that right amount of support and challenge, so that we experience change and growth without the panic that sometimes accompanies it. After all, aren’t we trying to set ourselves up for success?

It is the accumulation of small incremental successes that makes stable change. And don’t forget to congratulate yourself on a job well done.