Until about February 1st if you are lucky.
Now I am not trying to take away your enthusiasm. Far be it from me to dash anyone’s dreams and hopes for a new year. But resolutions are often designed to fail. “I’m going to the gym every day this year.” “I’m watching less television.” “I’m getting my house organized.” All of these are fine and admirable goals. The problem is the connotation of the statements. These are statements of force. “I’m going to force myself to go to the gym every day,” or worse yet “I have to go to the gym every day.” Mmmm, that sounds like fun doesn’t it? And we all know what happens when we feel we are being forced to do something.
The real truth is that we aren’t forced to do any of these things. The proof of that is how we end up scrunched down in our car seats as we drive past the gym on March 1st in case our trainer is out in the parking lot and happens to see us for the first time in six weeks. But boy oh boy do we feel like we are being forced, so our natural reaction is to push back. I have to go to the gym every day? I’ll show you. Not only will I not go to the gym, I’ll stop on the way home instead and get a bucket of fried chicken with four sides and a large soda. So there.
An alternative to making a resolution is setting an intention. An intention is a choice. I am choosing to do something; the power is all mine. It may seem like semantics, but feel the difference in these two statements:
“I have to go to the gym today.”
“I choose to go to the gym today.”
The word “choose” is an action word. I can say “I have to go to the gym today” with a bag of potato chips on my lap and a John Hughes marathon on the television and never move from my couch. However, when I say, “I choose to go to the gym today,” you can bet I put my sneakers on and head out that door.
So I encourage you, today, the first one in 2010, to rethink resolutions and instead get really clear on what you are choosing to commit to this year. Write your intentions down starting with the phrase, “This year I choose to…” Tell someone you love what you are choosing to do this year, or even choosing not to do – but remember the choice is yours. Come February, I hope you are still living with your intentions and making choices every day to move you closer to your goals. Let’s see where we all end up in 364 days after a year spent choosing how we live our lives.