“Cheers to a new year and another chance to get it right. Happy New Year. May it be your best ever!”
Have you noticed there are things that are in your life one day and then gone the next? You know, like socks and New Year’s resolutions.
Fortunately, Psychologist Dr. Simon Moore and statistician Dr. Geoff Ellis have discovered the secret of why our socks go missing, which they’ve reduced to a simple formula. According to their research, the probability of losing the match to a sock is based on laundry size, washing complexity, a person’s positivity towards doing laundry, and the degree of attention paid while laundering. Read their brilliant article Sock, Horror – Mystery of Missing Socks is Solved! to learn more.
I seem to lose socks as frequently as anyone else. Thanks to the great work of Drs. Moore and Ellis, perhaps I can now return all my socks to their drawer more often.
Resolutions, however, are different for me. I’ve had a tendency to hang on to mine, and put them to work improving my life.
Today is day forty-six of the New Year. Have you brought your New Year’s resolutions into your life and put them to work for you? Congratulations if the answer is yes. I know how good you are feeling. You’ve passed the twenty-one day mark that many believe is how long it takes to establish a new habit. You’re on your way to making 2017 another great year for you!
If you answered no, it is my sincere hope that you’ll find value in my philosophy about resolutions. Here are seven tips I use to hang on to my resolutions and put them to work creating my absolute best life.
1. Challenge it
If you’re not waking up excited about taking action on your new resolutions, perhaps you’ve made a choice that’s not right for you. That’s OK. Fail fast. Drop it and move on without judgment. You tried something that you thought would be good for you but discovered otherwise. No problem. Keep looking. Life is too precious and too short to waste time on wrong choices.
2. Make space for it
It may be a new year, but there are still only twenty-four hours in a day. In order to bring new resolutions into your life, you must make space for them. Start by eliminating things that are not, or are no longer, important to you. The more you say “No” to what you don’t want, the more time, energy and resources you will have for what matters most to you. Say no to everything you possibly can so you can spend more time on your new resolutions.
3. Do it first
When I am struggling to bring something new into my life, I put it at the front of the line. In the summer of 2015, I decided to become an author. I committed to writing five days a week for 90 minutes a day… and I put it right at the beginning of my workday. Without doing it first, my regular workday tasks, those things I was comfortable with doing, could easily have taken over. If I hadn’t put writing first, I doubt I would have completed my book. Or gone on to write my second… Or third…
4. Do it right
If you’re having a hard time bringing new resolutions into your life, make sure you’re doing things right. If you’re struggling with exercise, get a trainer or go on-line and research how to begin an exercise plan. If you’re struggling with weight loss, learn about how the modern diet stacks the odds against you. My favorite books on this subject are Wheat Belly by William Davis MD, Grain Brain by David Perlmutter, and Fat Chance by Robert H. Lustig.
5. Go easy
Kaizen is the Japanese idea that small incremental improvements add up over time to create big results. For me, it means there is always something I can do a little better tomorrow than I did today. Start work on your resolutions today, even if it’s just taking a single small step – looking something up online, for example, or scheduling actions into your calendar. Dedicate yourself to the practice of Kaizen from this day forward and make consistent, easy progress towards your goals.
6. Go steady
In his book, The Tao of Joy Every Day, Derek Lin says that diligence means having the “discipline to progress in a purposeful direction with consistency”. He continues: “It’s taking one step after another, without stopping but also without a frantic rush.” Isn’t that beautiful? So go steady and stop stressing. Enjoy the process of your resolutions but don’t worry about the results so much. Trust in yourself that every small effort is a step on your journey, regardless of any immediately observable result.
7. Keep going
Think of it this way. It’s taken you your entire life to get where you are today. What if it takes another 10,000 hours to master the new practices you want to bring into your life? What if it takes the rest of your life? As Confucius said, “It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.” So go slowly. Be kind to yourself. But keep moving forward in a purposeful direction with consistency.
I wish you every success and happiness you can imagine. Now get on with those resolutions of yours, and make this your best year ever!
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