5 Steps To Turning Your New Year’s Resolutions Into Realities

Pen and PaperAccording to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology (December 13, 2012), 45% of Americans usually begin the year with New Year’s Resolutions, yet only 8% are successful with their goals.  That’s…depressing.

I don’t believe the problem lies with the people who make resolutions, nor in the resolutions themselves.  I think it’s in the planning and execution.  So let’s plan for success and take those goals from paper to reality!

How to Turn Your List of Resolutions into Realities

1.  Prioritize it.  This is not supposed to be a TO-DO (or NOT TO-DO) list, but rather a list of goals, which take effort, time, and determination to accomplish.  So don’t set yourself up for failure and discouragement by listing every single thing you want to do or stop doing.  Perhaps choose one goal for each major category of life: Health/Wellness, Family/Relationships, Work/Career, Spirituality/Growth, and Finances.  Or if one area needs a lot of work–or is most important to you–focus all your resolutions to fit that need. 

2.  Reword it.  Spend some time wording your goals so that they inspire you and put the focus on what matters.  I’ll use a few common resolutions as examples:

  • “Lose 10 pounds.”  First off, I don’t like this one because it puts the focus on weight and what you look like on the outside.  You could lose 10 pounds and be miserable because you starved or deprived yourself.  This is usually why the weight comes back because nothing really changed…the goal was merely to attain a specific loss of weight.  What if you reworded “Lose 10 pounds” to “Feel amazing in a bathing suit”?  See how the focus is now on self-esteem and inner results?  Interestingly, being happy and healthy on the inside will show up as the outer results of weight loss you wanted in the first place.  

Some other examples of rewording:

  • “Quit smoking.” vs. “Choose to put my health before my habit.”
  • “Get organized.” vs. “Organize my physical and mental space so I can be productive and balanced.”

3.  Plan it.  Now that you have a descriptive and inspiring list of goals, you need to plan for success!  Wearing a bathing suit with confidence is a great goal, but what does that look like?  Are you going to plan out healthy meals for the week so you don’t cave in for junk food when you’re tired and hungry?  Will you commit to yoga/spin/dance/boxing classes and lift weights to get the long, lean, sculpted physique you desire?  If you don’t brainstorm how you can accomplish your goals, you’re likely to abandon them.

  • Think outside the box.  So you want to “Be stress-free” (which you might have reworded to “Find my Zen every day” in Step 1!).   Taking yoga and getting massages are wonderful ideas.  But go further by getting creative.  Eating immune-boosting, nutrition-packed foods will keep you healthy and at your best.  As a result, you’ll reduce your stress levels as you’ll be more equipped to handle what life throws at you.  Also, what makes you happy, content, peaceful, calm?  Reading a great book?  Taking a stroll in the park?  A long bath?  If you figure out what those things are and add as many of those activities to your daily life as possible, you’ll experience more “happy” and less “crappy.”
  • But be realistic.  Can you realistically spend an hour communing with nature or reading a book each day?  Then don’t make that declaration.  Instead, keep your happy list in mind and sneak them in whenever the opportunity presents itself.  Take that best-selling book out when you’re faced with standing in a long line (that would normally stress you out!) or spend 5 minutes sitting outside in a sunny spot on your lunch break.  Even doing a little bit of what makes you happy is infinitely better than doing none at all.

4.  Theme it.  It’s likely that you can find a theme that embodies all your resolutions.  Unearthing a theme that connects with you and is rich in meaning is a powerful tool in living the life you imagine.  It should resonate with you, make you feel something, propel you forward, support you in your journey toward this year’s goals.  Here are some examples of themes and what they can represent:

  • The Year of Letting Go – Letting go of things that don’t serve you–insecurities, fear, bad habits, destructive relationships, negativity–so you have room to welcome in all the good things that are possible.
  • Just Do It – Saying yes to relationships, job opportunities, experiences, adventures.  Taking action, taking charge, taking control.  Doing instead of only thinking/hoping/planning.
  • Love and Light – Associating yourself with inspiring people, feeding yourself positive messages, looking for the joy in life and reflecting it, opening yourself up to love from yourself and others.

Hold your year’s theme in your mind as you go about your daily life.  You’ll find your actions will start to follow your theme, and therefore, contribute to achieving your resolutions.

5.  Memorize it.  Once your resolutions are focused, powerful, planned, and themed, it’s time to commit your goals to memory.  The more they are a part of you, the more likely you’ll see them to fruition.

You can do it!

More posts related to resolutions/goals

Resolutions

3 Simple Steps to Achieving Health and Wellness Resolutions

It’s the first week of January.  A brand new year.  You’ve got your resolutions in hand, or on your mind, and you promise yourself this is the year you’re actually going to achieve all of them!  Are you?  I’m not trying to be rude, just practical.  It’s common for people to be excited about their resolutions on January 1st but want to run for the hills when they hear any word beginning with “res” by January 31st.

Discarding, forgetting, or ignoring resolutions can happen to anyone.  Are you a procrastinator and don’t know how to begin taking steps toward your goals?  Are you an overachiever and have so many, or such difficult, resolutions that the pressure of checking them all off your list makes you feel slightly queasy?  Are you somewhere in between?  Whatever your personality style, perhaps I can help with your nutrition and health goals.

I’ve trekked a gazillion miles on the roads called Nourishing Nutrition and Loving Food & Body, so I have some experience in these areas and can share what’s worked for me.  Yes, it is only my point of view and not scientifically proven.  But if someone like myself, who suffered severe food and body issues for over 10 years, could come to a place of health and happiness, I think you can too.

My philosophy to achieving optimal health and well-being can be stripped down to 3 simple steps:

  1. Choose better food.
  2. Choose better actions and behaviors.
  3. Choose better thoughts.

Why these three, and in this order?

Step #1: Choose better food.

I found that when I began eating better quality food, I felt and saw a difference in my body and mood.  Seeing those changes encouraged me to make better choices (actions/behaviors).  Eating nourishing food also elevated and stabilized my mood and energy level, so I was able to think clearly to make better choices more easily.  Like they say, “You are what you eat.”  Positive health changes begin with food.

Step #2: Choose better actions and behaviors. 

When you’re eating well, you naturally want to continue on that healthy path by making positive choices of action and behavior.  Like going to the gym regularly, reading instead of always watching TV, and cutting down the portion sizes of your meals.  Small actions lead to big results.

Step #3: Choose better thoughts.

When I chose better actions and they became new behavioral habits, I noticed my thoughts and self-talk turned more positive, caring, and supportive.  There’s also wisdom in the saying, “You are what you think.”

These three steps combine to transform your body, mind, and spirit into a house of health and well-being.  Now wait, don’t concentrate on the big picture of total transformation at this point!  You’re likely to have a panic attack or give up before you’ve started.  All you should focus on is tackling one step at a time, starting with food.  Don’t worry, I’m not leaving you on your own yet.  In the coming weeks, I will break down each of these steps, providing examples and simple ways to improve your health and well-being.

Have any thoughts or questions about your nutrition or health goals?  I’d love to hear from you!

closeup of eye

Beyond Resolutions

Photo by K.C. © 2011 Kristin Conroy

By this time, we’ve all proclaimed our resolutions to our family, friends, neighbors, coworkers…anyone who will listen.  We mean well and want to stick with the beneficial resolutions we’ve set for ourselves, like working out five times a week, staying away from fried food, spending more quality time with the family, and saving more money.  However, without setting those resolutions into the deeper framework of your life, they are going to sound like mandates instead of goals you’ve voluntarily set for yourself. And I don’t know about you, but I don’t like being ordered around, even when I’m the one doing the ordering.

I have to…

I need to…

I should…

I must…

Those are not the most inspiring phrases.  These are more positive versions, don’t you think?:

I want to…

I will…

I see myself…

Which brings me to one of my resolutions:  I will go beyond resolutions, envision my Ultimate Life, and map out my goals for the next ten years in detail. Sounds like what you had to do in school, right?  What do you want to be when you grow up? Where do you see yourself in five, ten, fifteen years? Not quite though.  This goes way deeper and is much more powerful.

I attended my friend Donna’s Healthy Living class to get me unstuck after the tragedy I shared with you in Dealing with Grief.  In one of the classes,  she handed out a worksheet on goals.  Its purpose was to nail down what we wanted to accomplish in the next five years.

But before we could get to that, we had to envision our perfect life, one in which we were joyful, healthy, and truly content. What would that look like, in detail?  She encouraged us to describe the clothes we would wear, the home in which we would live, the career, the spouse, the family, the dog…whatever you wanted, as long as it got you giddy with excitement!  And it needed to be written in the present tense.  Writing about your ideal future life in the present (even if you’re nowhere near that) is exponentially more powerful than speaking about your future life in the future tense.

Then, with that juicy picture in mind, we worked backwards, asking ourselves “What do I have to accomplish five years from now to make that big picture a reality?”  Then, “What has to happen in the next year?”  We worked in reverse time until we had answered what we wanted get done in the next week.  If your Ultimate Life, for example, includes living in a luxurious five-bedroom house and enjoying a successful career as a world-renown, best-selling author (sounds good to me!), what steps would you have to take to get there?  A successful author must have written a top-selling book (or ten) that earns a small fortune, thereby enabling the author to buy that huge house.  Of course, those accomplishments don’t happen overnight, so what steps lead up to that?  Getting an amazing agent, editor, and publisher are involved, but before that, the book(s) must be written.  And a whole lot needs to happen before that.  You get the idea.

There’s quite a bit of effort involved in envisioning your Ultimate Life, but you can see how working backwards from there in specific detail will eventually uncover what needs to happen in the next week to start making your dream a reality. It’s a simple concept, but using this method has so much more ooomph behind it when you take the time to really see your desired future in colorful, detailed High Definition. 

Although resolutions are excellent, think bigger, farther, and more powerfully than that! Try imagining your Ultimate Life and setting your Big Picture Goals to begin immediately moving toward that life.  Our Ultimate Life vision may not turn out exactly the way we plan, and our Big Picture Goals may change, and probably will.  Because, let’s face it, life has a way of surprising us, and we don’t have a crystal ball.  But harnessing and focusing our energy into becoming the best, most successful, most joyful version of ourselves can only lead to amazing opportunities and an amazing life!

I made my own version of Donna’s worksheet here.  Download and print it, so you can start envisioning your Ultimate Life and get moving in that direction!

Top Ten Posts

Top Ten Posts of 2010

It’s been nearly a year since I first shared this blog with the world.  In some ways, it seems longer because I’ve learned so much from this year.  In other ways, I feel the time has flown by; it has been a complete joy writing these posts and connecting with all of you.

As we approach this new year, we see a prevalence of stories centered on looking over the past 365 days:  Countdown to 2011, Year in Review, Best of 2010, etc.  I thought it wouldn’t hurt to jump on this bandwagon and celebrate Words Are Food’s first year with Top Ten Posts of 2010.  How did I figure out the winners?  Well, Word Press, the blogging platform I use, made it simple by calculating the number of visits for each of my posts.  I anticipated some of the winners–predicting older posts were more likely to have more visits–but there were a few surprises.  Here is the countdown:

Click on the titles to read those particular posts!

#10

All-Natural Ginger Buffalo Wings

This was my first time making buffalo wings and I know why.  I’m not big on eating meat off bones.  However, I put my aversion aside in honor of two American traditions, wings and football.  I’m happy I did…it’s an awesome recipe!

#9

Juniper Spice-Crusted Steak with Sapphire Collins

Another really fabulous recipe.  And another opportunity to practice a fancy meat-centered dish.  I made a big batch of this spice mix to use on other meats too, with very favorable results.

#8

Mango Sorbet with Thai Basil and Coconut

Packed with exotic flavors, but no guilt, this sorbet is such a treat in warm weather months.

#7

Life Lessons I Learned from Dad

Our parents have passed along some pretty useful information to us, haven’t they?  I thought I’d share some of the gems I’ve learned from Dad.

#6

Super-Natural Recovery Shake

Totally natural and totally delicious, this shake is the perfect post-workout meal.

#5

10 Marriage Commandments to Love By

Sound advice from couples who know what it takes to keep the love alive!  This was a really special post because while interviewing these family members, I got a whole lot more information than I was able to share in this post.  Stories I had never heard before, stories that lead to related stories…the time I spent with them was so enjoyable and such a privilege.

#4

It’s Affirmative…Affirmations are Powerful!

Some may think they’re silly, but I’m a firm believer in affirmations.  This post explains why.

#3

Natural Makeup Review:  Alima Pure

We’re exposed to way too many chemicals in our daily lives without even knowing it, so why put chemical-laden products on our largest organ, our skin, every day?  This post is the first in my search for pure, all-natural products to use and share with you.

#2

9 Food Blogs You Must Visit

We all have to start somewhere in the blogging world, and we usually look to others who are established and successful as a template.  These are the blogs from which I gained inspiration and why they rock in the food blogosphere.

And here’s #1

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead:  A Documentary

Joe Cross isn’t afraid of having the odds stacked against him.  This successful but horribly out of shape Aussie lets us join his cross-country journey as he loses a ton of weight and changes the lives of everyone he meets.  I was lucky enough to view his fantastic film earlier this year, but watch for its DVD release Spring 2011!

Well, there it is!  I’d love to know what you think of this countdown.  Do you have any favorites that didn’t make the list?

Photo by K.C. 2010 Kristin Conroy

Revisiting Those New Year’s Resolutions

Photo by K.C. © 2010 Kristin Conroy

We’re more than halfway through the year.  Can you believe it? As summer’s end looms over me, I’m experiencing feelings of slight panic. Am I still on track with those resolutions and goals I declared in January? Have I accomplished what I set out to do, or anything at all? Have I fallen out of a disciplined routine during these warm months filled with summer fun? Anybody with me on this?  I thought so.  Which is why I felt the need to write this post.

Are you living those resolutions and goals you made at the beginning of the year, or are they merely fuzzy, quasi-memorable images that you’ve tucked away in a dusty corner in your subconscious? Since most people dropped all pretenses of goals a while ago–maybe even by February–I thought it might be a good time to revisit our goals, adjust them if necessary, and enter the last five months of the year with renewed vision.

For the purposes of this post, “goals” refer to the steps you need to take to achieve your big-picture dream.  Not “lose 5 pounds”…unless your dream is to become a successful fitness model or prize-winning boxer!

If your vision for yourself has changed (or you find yourself on a new path)…

You need new goals! It’s time to chuck them and create new ones. Life changes–we change, circumstances change–so it’s reasonable that our goals would change too. According to your new vision, set appropriate goals, sub-goals, and objectives.  Don’t hold on to goals that have no benefit just because you committed yourself to them, or already put in a lot of time and effort to achieve them.  Useless goals gobble up your valuable free time and distract you from your dreams.  That’s no good!

If your goals aren’t serving their purpose…

A tune-up might be in order. If you’re not energized when you declare your goals, take a look at how you’ve worded them. Use active verbs and rich adjectives to create powerful messages. For example, if your dream is to be the lead singer of multi-platinum selling band, some of your goals may be find x# band members who share my vision and live, eat, and breathe music; connect with a manager who is passionate about our music and will fight for our band’s best interests; book x# gigs per month to gain valuable experience and a loyal audience who will recommend our music and follow us to the ends of the earth. I have no interest in that dream, but I’m kinda psyched just reading those goals!

If you got sidetracked from your goals…

It’s ok, it happens! Just find your way back. But first ask yourself why you wandered off the path in the first place. Were you distracted by other things (or useless goals)? Did you lose your confidence or positive attitude? Did you get a little lazy? Knowing why you detoured will help you find the solution to moving in the right direction.

If you’ve hit a brick wall (don’t know how to move forward toward your goals)…

Are your goals too overwhelming? I’m not talking about your big-picture goals (a.k.a. dreams)–go big with those!–but the goals that lead to them. Make your goals big enough to push yourself, but not so big that they’re unmanageable. You want to build your confidence, not destroy it. Break your goals into smaller steps, however small they need to be.  Affirmations can be useful tools to help you think positively and focus in on what you’re aiming to accomplish. If you carry out one little step each day,  you’ll have reached your goals before you know it!

Closing thoughts

It’s easy to forget/ignore/lose sight of our goals during summer, when we spend our free time at family gatherings, friends’ barbecues, on vacation, and enjoying outdoor activities.  All fun stuff, and much needed!  But after getting into a routine of a crammed social calendar–and letting our goals fall by the wayside–it’s hard to get back on track once summer is over.  Enjoy summer while it lasts, but don’t stop reaching for your dreams. Try to do a little something every day to get you closer to your goals.  That way you won’t lose your mojo, and it will be a lot easier to kick things into high gear once summer is over.

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