Freedom Blog

Monday, January 16, 2012

Resolved to Resolve

 No Limits | The Freedom Coach

Resolved to Resolve?

Written by Steven Griggs |

 “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.”
                                                                                                           Marianne Williamson

Every New Year’s Eve approximately 150 million Americans (surveys show approximately 50% of Americans) make their resolutions for the coming New Year.  It is an annual ritual that has almost become an accepted part of the celebrations.

You create a list of the things you’d like to accomplish or change in the coming New Year, sometimes even the same things that you promised yourself to do last year, but never got around to....  

The 4 most common resolutions are:

Getting out of debt and saving more money
Losing weight and exercising more
To quit smoking
Spending more time with the family

We’ve all done it.

“This year I’m going to spend less and save more!” (We’ve all tried this one....)

“Next year I’m going to work out every other day. To make myself commit to it I’m going to buy a gym membership.” (Surveys show that 90% of those who join health and fitness clubs stop going within the first 90 days.)

“This year I’m going to lose 25 pounds.” (We all know how long diets last....)

The truth is that by the end of the 2nd week of the New Year, 33% of the resolutions that were made have already fallen by the wayside. By the end of the year 88% have been given up.

So what is really going on?

For most people the idea or wish of the intended resolution sounds good and feels doable.  You say to yourself, ‘Yes, I can do it and I will!”. And you mean it…. at that moment.

But later your mind finds ways to slip out of the commitment or talks itself into postponing or “amending” the goals. 


Basically we are making the resolution for the wrong reasons. We are looking at what we think we “should” be doing or what we “need” to do rather than being aligned with what we really want. See my article- “Do affirmations work?”.

You might be saying "But I REALLY DO want to lose weight! I DO want to quit smoking!" And you probably do…..but this is where it gets tricky. Are you REALLY sure you want it? How do you know?

I’ll bet many people, even as they are committing to the goal (and if they were being honest with themselves) might hear that little voice saying the opposite..…

"How can I lose 35 pounds? That’s a lot….!  Does this mean I can’t eat desert every night?"
"Am I really going to stop smoking? I like to smoke…...!"

A better approach for dieting might be to tell yourself-  "I know I eat too much, I’m going to eat less." Check in with yourself and just eat less. As you start to eat less, you will notice the difference in your body. This will feel good and encourage you to eat less more often….

The same thing goes for smoking. If you can’t quit cold turkey,which is probably the best way if you have strong will power, then smoke less. Use the promise of a future cigarette as a reward for not smoking one now. Skip one every other time. I know this is difficult because nicotine is a very strong drug and hard to kick, but you get the idea. Eventually (or not....) you will probably reach the point where you really are ready to quit and then you will.

Change is difficult, especially when it comes to diet or nicotine as these are two agents we use to medicate ourselves psychologically and it can be very hard to modify these habits.

The truth is that the more we make promises to ourselves that we don't keep, the more we reinforce to our mind that we don't keep our promises. It then becomes more accepted and normal to lie to yourself. This can then lead to larger problems in terms of personal integrity.

So don’t commit to huge goals. Don't make a lot of goals. Create a plan to allow for small successes. Recognize that change is hard and your mind will resist it.

Don’t make commitments you know you won’t keep. Resolve to be good to yourself and allow for slip ups.

If you fall off the wagon, simply get up and get back on. No problem.