Lean 30: 15 – Don’t Make That Resolution

Pamela Chan, BCFamily.ca/Editorial

Lean 30 : 30 days of keeping it lean and old school online. More

You can see it’s coming.  Marked down on editorial calendars everywhere are plans that journalists and bloggers have made to roll out New Year’s Resolutions pieces.

Are you making resolutions?

What type will you make?

How quickly will you break them?

The shift is always the same and it’s become a bit of joke. Haven’t you noticed that there’s no end of people in your life – both at the office and elsewhere – who are only too happy to bring up your resolutions in conversations and remind you that you didn’t keep them? A week after journalists share those resolutions posts you’ll be reading about how long it took before they were broken.

So how long did you keep your resolution?

Weren’t you on a new year’s diet?

What happened to your exercise plan?

Didn’t you say you were going to write a book?

If you really do want to try out something new in the new year, or perhaps pick up a hobby or activity you’ve let go by the wayside, here’s an idea.  Don’t make a new year’s resolution.

Instead make a year end start.  It might seem like a technicality but it’s important that you get off the couch (floor…bed….) or wherever you are and do something – anything  – that will make you technically committed to having started a new something before 2014 ends.

(Don’t worry if you’re reading this in January.  Give yourself a pass and say you’ll start in the old year before the new Chinese New Year starts. That’s February 19th, 2015, by the way.)

By starting before the new year  you have technically started a year end project in 2014.  You have NOT started a new years resolution.  OK you’ll be continuing on in January but let’s not quibble over small details.

Don’t tell anyone.

Of course you want to tell everyone – or maybe just a few people who are close to you like your partner.


Don’t do it.

If you’re reading this post, chances are you’re old enough to go it alone. (I know the demographics related to this site and my other social media accounts. You’re old enough to keep this private.)

Let your 2014 year-end project be your delicious, private secret.

This way you can go at it full force or you can take the slow and steady approach.  You won’t have to explain yourself to anyone. You can take the time to get yourself on track and have a  conversation with yourself about how things are going before sharing your news with a wider audience.

This won’t stop you from sharing information with, and seeking tips from, friends and colleagues about exercise tips, ways to self-publish or other information that you will find useful.  Take advantage of information resources that surround you and other people’s experiences.  Hook up with a friend and go to the gym.  Tell your partner you’re disappearing for a few hours to tackle the disaster that is your study.  Just don’t mention anything about projects or resolutions.

Find your personal buttons.

What really gets you riled up and motivated? I have a competitive streak so I feel motivated when I think that I’m not stacking up well compared with others.  If someone is critical of me, my response is to get scrappy and prove that someone wrong.  Everyone has a different way, psychologically, of activating their push buttons to get motivated.  We have to have a serious talk with ourselves about how that happens.

Visualize your plan.

Start private Pinterest Boards with tips about how you’re going to achieve your goal and what you want to achieve when you get there.  Follow people who are in the know on Twitter or via their website newsletters. Put clippings in a folder with plastic pages and flip through the book regularly.  (I did this when I decided to move back to Canada for graduate school after working in Asia for a number of years.)

Start a visualization board full of articles, quotes and pictures. Put it over your desk at home or on the side of your fridge.

And while you’re at it visualize success.  Visualize how you’ll do this project.  What will your space and tools be like?  See yourself as your new successful self. Sometimes when I am trying to start fresh I will change my wardrobe or update my look.  I might even rip through my possessions, declutter and reorganize my home.

You are the company you keep!

Ignore, block out and – if possible – avoid people who feed you negative or low aspirational perspectives about yourself.  Add to the list people who can’t get over the fact that you’re not 17 anymore and that you’ve grown and changed over time.

I never thought you’d go to university.

I never thought you’d have children.

[Insert glass half empty statements here.]

I’ve heard people say these things about other people – even about me.  Avoid these people! You can do your own research, be fiscally responsible and decide if a project is worth trying.  Even if you don’t achieve your goal, your life will be the better for trying.

Go online.

Join online chat groups and forums where you can get tips and advise – even support – from people who are tackling the same goals.

Set Yourself a Timeline

Give yourself plenty of notice about when you are going to start.  Be firm with yourself if you haven’t even taken baby steps to get going.  Write out your achievements in a daytimer (hard copy or electronic).  Schedule electronic reminders.  Find online apps that will help you get yourself organized. Set short-term and long term goals about how your progress should be coming along.  Don’t be hard on yourself if you have to completely revamp your timeline if life gets in the way.

Find Role Models

Look around you.  Do you admire people in your community?  What can you learn from them?  What can you learn from more famous individuals.

I follow Richard Branson on LinkedIn. He is a constant source of “just do it” inspiration.  I’m always keen to hear from Tara Sophia Mohr (plus website) who is guaranteed to inspire you.  And if you’re focussed on exercise goals, I’d mix in some Jillian Michaels.

Who inspires you and gets you motivated?  Sssh… you don’t have to say what your 2014 year end project is (unless you want to) but what steps will you take to activate it?

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