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Congratulations, you did it! You achieved your 2012 New Year’s resolutions and have created goals for 2013 that you are confident you will reach. What?!? This isn’t you? Did I hear you say that you can’t even remember your resolutions from one year to the next?
Well, I’m not as shocked as I sound. After all, a 2005 survey found that 92 percent of people who make a New Year’s resolution do not achieve it. Those are dismal odds for us regular folks who want to make a change that we feel is important to the quality of our lives. Now, before you sit back and feel you are off the hook for making those changes, let’s explore some popular resolutions and one step that might help.
The first place I went for information was to our government. They do tons of research on all of us. They know important stuff about a lot of…stuff. I wanted to know what they listed as popular new year‘s resolutions. In their top list of goals are: drink less, get a better job, manage debt and recycle. I’m not sure if they polled average citizens or just Congress on this one. However, it highlights an important and often overlooked component for creating resolutions that have a chance of success.
The words we use to set our goals are important. Common New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight or to get out of an unsatisfying job. For our government, there is much attention on the goals of avoiding the fiscal cliff or avoiding increasing debt. However, avoidance goals, goals that take us away from something negative, are not motivating. They focus our attention on the wrong things. In the above examples we sit staring at the excess weight, the unsatisfying job, the fiscal cliff and the huge debt clock. By focusing attention daily on what we want to avoid, we unwittingly place these things first in our minds. This may cause us to unconsciously freeze out of fear or worse, we might move towards the very things we are trying to avoid.
Let’s look at a weight loss example. What if I want to lose weight and my goal becomes, “To eat less chocolate cake.” Are you picturing a big fat slice of three layer chocolate cake with rich bittersweet icing? Yum, I can taste it now. If our goal is to eat more cake, then putting this image in our minds daily will do fine. Commercials use repeated images very effectively. What if our goal becomes, ‘to eat more veggies and fruits?” What image do you now have in your mind? Which image is more beneficial to a weight management goal?
Think on your New Year’s resolutions. Do they create the image in your mind that will move you toward your goals? Are they framed in the positive? This is the first step to successfully setting a New Year’s resolution that has a reasonable chance for success. Additional steps and tips can be found on the articles page at www.tccgroup.us.
Judie Thompson, of Kutztown, is a personal coach, organizational consultant and speaker who specializes in developing the effectiveness of people. She may be reached at Thompson Coaching & Consulting, 484-358-5084 or email@example.com.