Every year, we do this cool thing. We start over. Many of my clients are very aware of this natural break that gets created at the end of the calendar year. And what a lovely opportunity it is! So in December, coaches like me are on social media setting out their ideas on how to clear the slate, set this last year down and get ready to start anew.
Then…the New Year’s Resolution. What is it?
I don’t know that there is a definition, but it looks to me like this. “Beginning January 1, I will ____” – fill in the blank.
There is a joke at my gym that in the month of January, the parking lot is always full. But by February, the regulars can find spaces again.
So what happens to those resolutions we make that drop off after a few weeks?
There are many answers, but one answer has to do with the nature of commitment. Commitment is a way of being that leads to a result. I do not use it as a noun. I do not say, “Your commitment is to be here at 9am”. I use it this way – “What is your commitment?” or “What are you committed to?” Because we are always committed to something. If I say I am going to go exercise and I don’t, then I am not committed to exercising that day. I am committed to something else. It could be sleep or work or a relationship. More likely however, it is something more internal like a belief or a story – maybe that exercise doesn’t work or that I won’t follow through so why bother or that I can skip today and go tomorrow. We are always committed to something and our actions indicate what that is.
Best Ways to Get What you Want in the New Year
In coaching, there is a difference between commitment to a result and commitment to an idea. What does that mean? Are you committed to working out 4 days a week or are you committed to thinking about it, hoping for it, the beautiful picture of what it will be like when you do? This can be a confronting question. But if you hide from it, it will be harder to locate the source of your commitment to the result. Likewise, if you are mean to yourself (“I’m so lazy – I think about it but I never do it!”), you will also have a hard time finding the source of your commitment to the result.
So now it’s January. What supports you being committed to that which you say you want? Here are some thoughts:
- Be honest with yourself. Do you want this? Or is it something you believe you should want? (It is tough to stay committed to something that is not truly yours. Ex: you may truly want to engage in some activity regularly so you feel better, but think you should want to go to the gym 4 days a week and lose weight.)
- Ask yourself why. What is the purpose for this result? (It is not often the thing you want that will keep you committed. It is the reason for it. Ex: it may not be the weight loss; it may be the energy to play with your grandkids.)
- Give yourself a timeframe. (An open-ended resolution to do a thing for an indeterminate amount of time can feel daunting. Ex: “On Jan. 1 I will start exercising.” Chunk it down to something that is manageable for your brain. Ex: “During the month of January, I will set a number of times to exercise each week. The first week, I will exercise 3 times.” When you revisit your goals weekly, deciding how often you will work out that week, you have chunked it down to a manageable size and it does not feel like “forever” to your brain.)
Ready to Start Anew?
If you want more on New Year’s Resolutions and commitment to a result vs. an idea, please join us on The Coaching Couch, January 20 at 12noon PST. Go here for more info and to indicate you are going: