About now, the shine has come off our New Year’s Resolutions. Grand plans of eating better, getting to the gym, not staying up too late watching Netflix or cruising Pintrest have fallen by the wayside. The most successful resolution I ever made was in college when I told a friend on New Year’s Eve that I planned on eating more marzipan. I then polished off a box of marzipan fruit while watching a Texas football game on New Year’s Day. Mission accomplished!
Most of our resolutions never stick. We try to change too many things at once (This year, I’m going to learn Spanish, and read a new book every two weeks, and organize the garage, and participate in a Bible study, and…) or try to make too large of a change (I’ve never really tried running, but this year, I’m going to qualify for the Boston Marathon!). Or we don’t have a solid plan or structure in place to sustain the changes we want to make. One of the biggest challenges is motivation. What are we hoping to achieve from making a change? Are we working toward something positive or are we trying to avoid something negative?
Avoiding a negative is a much harder motivation to maintain. For example, let’s say (hypothetically) that I need to lose 20 lbs because my doctor says I’m carrying too much weight and my knees may start giving me trouble and my pants don’t fit quite right. I could take up jogging. Or I can buy new pants. There’s no positive motivation for me to make a change, just reducing the chance of a bad thing happening. But if losing 20 lbs helps give me more energy so I can play longer with my kids, or helps me feel less tired at night so I can spend a little more time with my wife rather than pass out, then that’s a clear positive for me to work toward.
So what do I want to achieve this year? Since I’m fresh out of marzipan, I want to work on being more present to my wife and the ducklings. I need to answer a few questions in making this a success.
1) Why am I doing this? (What is the good I’m trying to pursue?)
2) How will I get there? (What changes or actions need to take place?)
3) What will my response be the first time I fail? (How will I keep my motivation?)
This week, think about what you want to achieve this year and create a plan on how to make that a reality.