Now that 2017 is here, you've probably already defined the many ways in which you want to change your life. This is the year your business will really take off, you think. This is the year you resolve to get off the couch and run a half marathon (or at least a 5k). This is the year you finally get that amazing life you know is within reach.
The problem with making resolutions is that they often feel impossible to keep. Your intentions are good. The motivation is there. But somehow they still don't seem to stick. If that's true for you, you're probably forgetting to take into account this important factor: Resolutions only specify a result; they fail to take into account that a process is required to achieve that outcome.
Here's the thing no one tells you about resolutions: When you force a habit change without getting to the root of the issue, you're setting yourself up for imminent failure.
If you want to actually keep your resolutions in 2017, you're going to have to develop this one life-changing habit: becoming more conscious of your behaviors.
Feeling skeptical? Here are some traditional resolutions and examples of how becoming more conscious can help you stick to them.
Resolution #1: I want to get in shape.
Before you join the masses and sign up for a new gym membership, you need to be honest with yourself and figure out why you're not exercising more right now.
What stopped you in 2016? What kept you from running that 5k or hitting the gym in the morning? How are you avoiding opportunities to make healthier strides in your day-to-day routine? Chances are that you have a running list of excuses that you can point to that kept you from achieving your fitness goals.
Being conscious of those excuses will give you an opportunity to change your behaviors. For example, if you find that you're not making time to get in shape because you don't have equipment, you'll need to set aside some money and buy it. If you refuse to go to the gym because you hate getting on the treadmill, you'll need to find a non-traditional activity that will get your heart rate up.
Soon enough, you'll see that those small revelations will have a big impact on your fitness goals.
Resolution #2: I want to cut back on my caffeine intake.
If you find you're frequenting your neighborhood coffee shop a little too often, it might be time to stop and think about why you're always searching for that caffeine fix.
Are you suffering from a lack of energy? Or are you falling back on a daily ritual that could easily be replaced with something that doesn't involve a double shot of espresso?
Identifying the reason behind your coffee runs will help you figure out when you really need the pick-me-up and when you're using it as another way to kill time.
Resolution #3: I want to get more sleep.
I know, I know. There aren't enough hours in the day, right? But if getting more sleep is on your must-do list, it's time to figure out why you're not doing so right now.
Maybe you're a night owl who finds that the few extra hours at the end of the day are the only time you can really relax. If that's the case, are there things you can cut out in your daytime routine that will help you get to bed earlier?
Maybe there's something in your sleep environment that's keeping you up. If so, is it something you can easily fix?
Keep your eyes open for the factors affecting your sleep and you'll be on your way to getting more shut-eye in no time.
Resolution #4: I want to get more joy out of my work.
When you don't love what you do, there can be an infinite number of reasons why. Instead of complaining, focus on paying attention to the moments you really don't enjoy.
Are you dreading going into the office every morning? Is there a certain time of day or activity that drains you the most?
Once you're conscious of those moments, figure out if you have any power to make changes to your work situation. If so, immediately take the steps that would minimize those draining moments. You'll be surprised by how much more enjoyable work will be.
The more you take steps to become more conscious, the easier it will be to reverse habits that hold you back. Soon you'll be on your way to the most fulfilling and successful year yet.
And that's what the New Year is all about, isn't it?