“The person who handles and succeeds at change is true to themselves and fully engaged. To change you need to accept and understand your strengths, be honest and clear about you goal for change. Basically, you need to know what you want, play to your strengths, be tough, be engaged and get support along the way. ” Dr. James Loehr, The Power of Full Engagement
The reason resolutions are generally started and then forgotten is because we give up on the road between starting to change something ( behavior, attitude or situation) and the mastery of the change process. Many times a resolution is formated in the negative. For example, I am going to loss twenty pounds over the next three months or I am going to give up smoking by my birthdate. These are good resolutions and yet are difficult to accomplish because along the way to change you hit obstacles, you lack “stick-to it ness”, motivation wanes and you let yourself off the hook. The trick to success is to reframe resolutions into positive behavior and thoughts not the negative. For example, I am going to get healthier in 2010 by integrating a physical fitness plan of exercise and walking into my daily routine. See the difference between this life-style change and giving things up. You can almost feel the excitment and power of the former statement. It turns a resolution from a “have to” which takes great effort to a “want to” that is integrated into your life style and daily living. You must daily reaffirm you strength and ultimate patience to change. Living in the moment frees you from excuses for not changing and helps you to affirm you ability to accomplish anything you want in life –one -smart step at a time.
If you are a committed and a determined to change some specific behavior or situation in your life, remember the quality of your life has nothing to do with excuses, unresolved conflicts, or distant negative experiences. It has everything to do with the HERE AND NOW–YOU. YOUR ESSENCE AND PASSION FOR LIVING A MEANINGFUL, CONTROLLABLE and CONSTRUCTIVE LIFE. It has to do with your thinking, reflection, choice, behavior, and impact–The pressing question: What do you want to change and how do you go about sustaining that change?
Tips to Help keep Resolutions and Sustain Personal Change
1. Affirm your ability to continue personal change and develop[ a no excuses focus by repeating this affirmation: “Focus on living well regardless of how you are feeling at the moment.” And complete the following Reflection Activity Daily:
- Pick one action that you want to change—for example, your physical health–running or walking, eating healthy foods, self-improvement through meditation, calling the doctor for a three month or yearly checkup, etc.) Chose a set time of the day and do the activity at the same time each day for one week. Record the day, time, activity and your reflections in your daily journal.
2. Focus on positive behavior and ignore self-sabotaging thinking and ideas with clear and meaningful change goals and performances through constructive thinking and actions. I call this the Smart-Step process. It is all about establishing a clear and meaningful purpose, being confident through positive self-talk and developing realistic habits, and execution plans.
- Smart-Steps are more manageable in developing positive behavior changes then a more general or holistic approach. Smart-Steps allow you to focus on behavior and the process instead of judging performance (based on fears, false expectations and results). For example, change process goals help you focus on being in the moment and responding in a responsive way to align actions with goals. Smart-steps facilitate the development of energy into positive enthusiasm for change. Here are some essential components of the Smart-Step Change Process as applied to “Personal Change Resolutions:
- Clarify and agree to reasonable change goal. Start by making goal realistic, understandable, doable and measurable.
- Monitor and Edit yourself in positive ways. Sincerely try to set and meet realistic goals-do not try to change everything at one time; review and reassess goals to keep them realistic and incorporate lessons learned from setbacks or failures. Try to understand setbacks and overcome obstacles to change.
- Soften your “criticism.” of self . Do not quit if you feel overwhelmed. Practice this technique– STOP. Reflect. Challenge your thinking. Move on through positive action.
- Ask for and accept support and advice from others. A presentation succeeds to the extent that you do not feel alone in tackling a difficult personal change. Be responsive friends and family members comments or concerns. Be open and flexible to suggestions from others feedback in trying to keep momentum for change alive.
- Have high standards. Have high standards and don’t expect perfection. Things may go wrong. Be ready to go with the flow.
- Focus on the optimistic “POV” and Self-Talk. Try to understand and apply your strengths and abilities to the change process. People who succeed on changing behavior permanently make at least five times as many positive statements to themselves about progress than negative statements or excuses.
Once you understand the Smart-Step process you are on the road to significant personal change. Process goals replace personal expectations and help you focus on what is really an important priority in your life. Being and living in the moment is critical to developing confidence. It means learning to trust and believe in yourself. Developing this sense of trust means being vulnerable and at risk. Trust is directly related to your ability to be open and is experienced as authenticity by others. Good Luck on your change goals and share your success stories with us in the coming year.