It's that time of year again. The days are getting shorter, the leaves are changing colors, and pumpkin flavoring is invading all sorts of non-pumpkin foods -- it's time for New Year's Resolutions!
You heard me correctly. Today, October 25th, I want you to start working on your 2012 New Year Resolutions. Why wait until the calendar flips over to start changing your life? What's so special about January 1st vs. October 25th? Instead of jumping into your set of New Year Resolutions in a couple months, why not set the stage right now to make yourself successful? What does it even take to be successful? Why have you been successful with resolutions in the past? Why do most people fail on their New Year's Resolutions? Am I get annoying with all the questions, yet?
There's a lot of different components of the resolution making process that we could look at. I think there are four things we can all begin doing today to make what we resolve to do in 2012 last beyond the second week of February.
KICKING 2012 IN THE FACE TODAY
Don't wait until January 1st, 2012 to start thinking about changing your life for the better. You can begin laying the framework for successful resolutions today by adjusting your mindset, making physical and mental space to grow, and clarifying your values.
Mindset: To make a New Year Resolution last you need a mindset of personal development that doesn't require a new year to motivate. We place too much emphasis on the importance of a "fresh start" on January 1st when we can actually give ourselves a fresh start every day. Every day you can make a decision to continue on the path you're on or to do something different. Your days, hours, and minutes are made up of all the individual decisions you make. Each decision is an opportunity to change your life for the better. A piece of fit or a cupcake for a snack? Work on a project or browse the internet mindlessly? Do a couple pushups or make an excuse? You don't need to wait until January 1st to start changing your decisions for the better.
Clear the crap: Minimalism has played a huge part in my life. Clearing all the physical stuff out of my immediate environment that I didn't truly care about had a hugely liberating effect on me. I'm not saying you need to go to the same extreme as me, but I do think that thinking seriously about what you let into your life (physically and mentally) is very important. If you want to fill 2012 with new habits and choices, how are you going to make space for them? Spend the next couple months clearing the space to let the improved you grow and prosper.
Clarifying values: Everything I do with my coaching, writing, and living comes back to values. Our values drive our daily actions and decisions. For something that's so important to our functioning, very few people have a truly good grasp on their values. Spend the next couple of months asking yourself what you truly care about, what you want to change in your life, and why you believe these things. If you're clear on your values then setting resolutions that align with them won't be difficult. Tying your resolutions directly to your values means that you're going to be incredibly unlikely to break them. It all hinges on figuring out and clarifying your values first.