Leslie Taylor Life Coaching & Personal Development

Successful Life Coaching & Leadership Development

e-Newsletter for January, 2009

This month—How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions

1.  2009--A brand new year--time to think about those new beginnings.

2.  10 ways to ensure that you keep your resolutions

Happy New Year!

The Romans named the first month of the year after Janus the god of beginnings, endings, doors and gates. Janus had two heads which looked in opposite directions. His ability to look backward at the year that had just passed and forward to the year that was just beginning made him a natural “poster boy” for the month of January.

Guess what? It’s that time again. It’s a brand new year and time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished in 2008, and to think about opening new doors for ourselves in 2009. We typically think about making changes in our lives on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve and birthdays.  Something about those dates causes us to pause and reflect on our lives.

But, lots of people I’ve talked to have given up on making New Year’s resolutions because they’ve become discouraged with not achieving their goals year after year. They work hard to complete strong but at some point they falter. The weight goes back on, smoking starts again, exercising stops etc. etc. It can be very frustrating!

To help you succeed at making changes in 2009 this newsletter focuses on some positive things you can do to keep your New Year’s resolutions.

According to “the experts” most of us will make a New Year’s resolution this year but only about 10% of us will succeed at keeping it.

We can increase the chances of success by understanding the process of change. There are a number of steps that are involved in moving from thinking about changing something in our lives to taking concrete action and moving forward successfully.   

James O. Prochaska the lead author of the book, Changing for Good, tells us that the journey of change is not a linear one. Very few of us can set a goal and then achieve it the first time we try. Most of us will try more than once and find that the “journey of change” has many ups and downs.

It’s no wonder that people give up almost as soon as they start.

What can you do? Well, you can increase your chances of succeeding, and keep your resolutions once and for all by recognizing that there are FIVE stages that people commonly go through. These stages are as follows:

Stage 1:  Pre-contemplation—in other words you are NOT interested in making any changes and are probably resisting change.

Stage  2:  Contemplation—at this stage you have a desire to change but are afraid that you might fail. You can spend a few weeks or a few years in the contemplation stage. This is the time to visualize yourself succeeding and to make an emotional connection to the results you want to achieve.

Stage 3:  Preparation—now you are ready to take action and you are developing a plan to handle any unexpected challenges. The steps you take during the preparation stage will naturally lead you into stage 4.

Stage 4: Action—be prepared to continue with your action plan for at least SIX MONTHS. This speaks to the importance of making your resolution a priority. You need to commit time, energy and resources to making this happen.

Stage 5: Maintenance—Congratulations you’ve succeeded in changing your behavior. Take credit for your accomplishments.

10 Ways to Keep Your Resolutions

1.   Pick one thing that you want to change.

2.   Get specific about what you plan to do and what you want to achieve.

3.    Develop a plan and write it down.

4.   Think about possible obstacles or barriers to success and plan how you will overcome them.

5.   Break large goals into smaller more manageable steps.

6.   Make your change a priority and focus your attention on it.

7.   Go public! Tell your friends, family members and/or co-workers.

8.    Remember, there is no failure only feedback. Look at each challenge as an opportunity to learn something that will help you succeed in the future.

9.   Find a supportive person to check-in with on a regular basis.

10.  Celebrate small successes as you go.

And remember You need a plan AND you need to remain flexible and open.

“The secret of success in life is for people to be ready for their opportunities when they come.” Benjamin Disraeli

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