I don’t think I was ever good at New Year’s resolutions. As far back as I can remember, I made promises to myself that I couldn’t keep. “In the new year, I promise to go to the gym every day.” “I promise this is my last cookie – in the new year I’m not going to buy fattening food.” You can see where I’m going with this, right?
I set myself up for disappointment. Once I missed a day at the gym, there was no reason to even work on the promise I had made. I had already messed up which meant (as I believed then) that I was a failure so why bother? As for the cookie, well then I just negotiated with myself. I would rationalize that if I bought “non chocolate” treats like gummy bears that were fat-free, they were acceptable. But, once I ate the gummy bears I’d begin the sugar high-low cycle, then feel awful and go for the chocolate chip cookie because I “needed” it. And promise myself that it would be my last one…until the next one.
Over the past few years, as I’ve enjoyed a healthier lifestyle than the first forty years of my life, I’ve made great strides in embracing change and transforming habits that didn’t serve my well-being. I thought through why my promises were futile and why new year’s resolutions don’t work. It’s a subtle distinction:
Promise – a declaration that something will or will not be done;
Resolution – the act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.;
Commitment – engagement or involvement.
The definitions* of promise and resolution explain something that may or may not happen. A commitment represents participation and connection, as in already taking part in the action.
To hold myself even more accountable than in the past, I decided to share with you the 12 commitments I made to myself. I wrote out 12 because of the year 2012, and then realized that, of course, there are 12 months in the year (and my birthday is on the 12th day…)
In no particular order, here are the 12 commitments I’ve made to myself for 2012:
1) Shut down at 9:30pm on weeknights (turn off computer and blackberry, watch mindless tv with Keith; knit, read.
2) Develop a meditation practice; set intention for the day each morning.
3) Make physical activity a part of who I am; cardio at least 3x/week, yoga at least 2x/week.
4) Set aside time each week to make sure home is clutter-free.
5) Healthy eating is a foundation of my existence.
6) Practice random acts of kindness.
7) Keep current on all financial matters (filing receipts, know all cc balances, label receipts when transaction occurs.
8)Set aside time each week to clean out email inboxes.
9) Set aside time each Friday to prepare schedule for following week.
10) Turn off phone and blackberry each day for time to focus and concentrate.
11) Create calendar with time to contact friends via phone and handwritten notes.
12) Prepare at least four new recipes each month.
It’s not that I don’t do some of the above 12 “commitments” already, but I do know that I can improve. I’m looking forward to the journey of 2012 and discovering more about myself. I have set the intention to serve my clients in even bigger ways this year and in order to do that I know that I need to honor the commitments I’ve made to me.
Have you been successful in keeping New Year’s resolutions? If so, to what do you attribute the achievement? If not, have you thought through what keeps you from reaching your goals? I wish you the best of everything in this new year and I want for you all that you wish for yourself. Decide that this is the year you will live your best life then make the commitment and do whatever it takes…you can do it!
*definitions from dictionary.com
- Write out commitments to yourself for 2012. Don’t feel pressured to include a long list. Commit to what feels natural to you to get you to the place where YOU want to be.
- Make copies of your commitments. Place one near your nightstand so you see it first thing in the morning and when you go to bed. I believe it is also a good idea to keep a copy in your wallet so you see a visual reminder during the day.
- Create a plan. Include “to-do” items related to your commitments in your daily planner so the steps become habits and not “extra” things.
- Take time now to schedule a review of your commitments – perhaps once a month.
- Register for my upcoming, complimentary tele-class so I can support you and provide resources to help you honor your commitments.
These steps will help you create a solid foundation to enjoy a balanced and productive life. If you are concerned about your nutrition and well-being, contact me at or call 413-282-7286. At Bravo! Wellness, I work with my clients to create manageable lifestyle changes so they are able to reach their goals and maintain a healthy and fulfilling standard of living.