Three Keys to Re-Invigorating Your Resolutions

    It’s mid-January and, for many folks, reality is meeting their resolutions. Already I noticed that the gym was less crowded this Sunday than it was on the 1st or the 8th. What happens as you try to keep your resolutions? What makes the difference between those you keep and those you let go? I’ve discovered at least three keys that make a huge difference for me.

    First, how often do you set a STRONG RESOLUTION that is a HUGE GOAL? We’re encouraged to set our sights high, imagine our ideal, and not sell ourselves short. But is this really good advice? Especially if you have a goal in an area of your life that is somewhat new to you, this advice might be dooming you to failure. If you set a strong intention on an ideal that is way out ahead of you, you may defeat yourself before you barely get going.

    Having a strong intention can get in your way if it causes you to think idealistically and overlook real life conditions and circumstances. For example, if you want to get in shape and set your goal on losing 50 pounds by exercising intensely for two hours per day at a gym across town, you may do this for a week or two. However, it’s highly likely that you’ll get sore and exhausted, tire of the travel, and find other demands pressing on your workout time. If instead, you set your intention to workout 20 minutes a day doing moderately demanding exercises that you can do conveniently, you’re more likely to be successful. Especially, if you are new to a specific activity, set easily attainable goals, check them off, gain confidence, and then set slightly higher expectations if you want even better results.

    The bottom line is this: whatever you want to expand in your life, consider what you are currently doing and the reasons for it. Consider what time, energy, and resources you have and what is really doable. That doesn’t mean that you need to be a pessimist. It just means that you’ll be more successful if you take your real life responsibilities and resources into account and develop an action plan that balances the new thing you want to do with the other activities that are important to you. Those who are most successful in reaching their goals, set intentions that are “mid-range.” They are enough of a “reach” to inspire you and realistic enough to give you confidence that you can do it. Set realistic intentions.

    Secondly, any goal is a journey of small steps. Break your goal down into small steps and have a long-term perspective. No matter what you want to do, there’s going to be steps of research, gathering resources, scheduling, communicating with others, taking action, evaluating how it went, making adjustments, and taking more action. If any step feels too big or intimidating, break it down into smaller actions that feel more doable. For example, if making a career change feels “HUGE,” start by researching online, talking to others who are doing what you want to do, taking a class, volunteering in the field, and getting your feet wet. Once you’re engaged in the small steps, your new activity will take on a life of its own and carry you forward.

    Finally, if what you want to do is to “stop doing something,” focus on what you want to do instead. Focus on positive action. For example:

    *If you want to quit eating sugar and starchy carbs, focus on the proteins, veggies, and other foods that you will replace them with. Make what you will eat attractive and focus on that.

    *If you want to stop complaining, focus on expressing appreciation.

    *If you think you have no options or opportunities, focus on gratitude for what you do have.

    Focus on positive replacements for actions you no longer want to participate in. Positive action is more inspiring and psychologically effective.

    I would love to hear what helps you stick with your resolutions.

    Enjoy your practice,


    Kevin Schoeninger

    P.S. This month at Spiritual Growth Monthly we’re focusing on strategies for creating what you truly desire and overcoming the challenges along the way. Click here to learn more.

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