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Weighing In On New Year's Resolutions

Published December 21, 2015

Many people I know plan to make same New Year’s resolutions for 2016 that they made for 2015. Since research shows that 92% of people break their New Year’s Resolutions, this is no surprise. What does this say about human nature? It can’t simply be that 92% of us are hard-wired for intentional failure. And for the 8% who do reach their goals there is the challenge of maintenance, which can be even more difficult than reaching the goal.

Most resolutions – such as losing weight or quitting smoking - involve willpower, reason and commitment, the most important being your reason. Why do you want to lose weight? Is it what you want to do, or is someone telling you to do it?

Making a commitment to a plan keeps you motivated. If your decision is made at the wrong time or comes from an outside source you will likely lose interest and that’s when willpower breaks down. Was it your plan in the first place? What significance does losing weight have for you? People expect quick results and forget the reason and commitment part, then are disappointed when the outcome they hoped for does not happen.

So this New Year’s Eve, many of us – including this coach and writer – need to shed a few extra pounds. What would happen if we celebrate what we have right now and can offer others every day? Would that not be a valuable resolution we can keep? Contributions based upon an individual’s core values carry weight and can change the giver and receiver on a fundamental level.

Here are seven great ways to start off the New Year. Seven offers an opportunity to practice one each day of the week.

Resolve to be grateful. Keep a gratitude journal and write down one to three things each night that brought meaning to your life that day. It can be something as simple as walking in a beautiful nature setting or receiving an unexpected gift that can be uplifting. There is nothing too little to notice and appreciate. Oprah Winfrey made a short video about the importance of journaling and the difference it’s made in her life.

Resolve to compare yourself to you, not others. Director Billy Wilder once said: “You’re as good as the best thing you’ve ever done.” Choose five people that you admire. Jot down the qualities you value in them and why they serve as role models for you. Let them motivate you to engage your special talents to create something that is uniquely yours, not theirs.

Resolve to expect more for yourself and track your progress. As a recovering perfectionist I know what happens when your inner critic sits in the driver’s seat. Good judgment is essential; harsh negative self-talk is sabotage. Try using descriptive language that is accurate and supportive of your strengths and skills. Keep a daily progress chart, and after a month you may be surprised that you are improving performance and can actually finish what you started.

Resolve to perform random acts of kindness. One New Year’s Eve some years ago, I left a restaurant and saw an elderly woman suddenly fall. The woman’s daughter was with her and people were walking past them. Although they were strangers, I offered my assistance. Fortunately, her mother was not seriously hurt. What began as a spontaneous act became a conscious reminder to remember the importance of committing acts of kindness by showing compassion for those who need help.

Resolve to ask questions when you don’t know the answer. American financier Bernard Baruch stated: “Every man has a right to be wrong in his opinions. No man has a right to be wrong in his facts.” It means being humble enough to admit some areas of knowledge are out of your reach. Resolve to spend 2016 asking people for their expertise and experience when you are not familiar with a topic. At the end of the year let me know how many new friends you’ve made.

Resolve to believe in yourself. Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or you think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” If you have the confidence to know that you are competent, you will achieve your goals with ease and grace. Coaching can be very helpful in raising your sense of purpose and self-worth. As your Personal Development Coach, I will work with you on eliminating fear and using confidence-building assessments.

Resolve to forgive others, and yourself. Holding on to a grudge or guilt leads to despair. Whatever happened in the past, allow the healing process to begin with self-forgiveness. Only by strengthening your personal foundation will you effectively move on with your life.

Here’s hoping 2016 brings good health, prosperity and pleasant surprises for everyone.

Bonnie Chernin is a Personal Development Coach specializing in Mid-Life and Career Transitions. Bonnie can be reached at (347) 702-6519.

Posted on December 21, 2015 by Bonnie Chernin

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