Reviving your Resolutions: Tips for Staying Motivated

Several days after the most monumental of New Year’s celebrations, I visited a local hair salon. What was normally a haven from the hectic world had turned into a headquarters for bickering, brash employees.

When I asked my hairstylist what had caused the change, she replied, “Oh, we all quit smoking on New Year’s Day.” Then, she pointed to each of the employees with her scissors. “Tabitha lasted two days. Theresa’s on day six. Mark lasted three days…”

A New Year’s celebration as huge and hyped as this one has resulted in some huge and hyped resolutions, but, as my recent trip to the salon proves, good intentions are sometimes not good enough.

Keeping these resolutions takes concerted and consistent effort from every part of you…mind, body, and soul.

It’s easy to say who we want to be and what we want to do in the year ahead, but it’s quite another to achieve those goals on a day-to-day basis. Now that the excitement of the new century has waned, it’s time to reinvigorate our mind’s dedication to the goals we have created.

Record your goal
Journaling is an important skill to learn…not just for identifying and revitalizing those resolutions you most need to keep, but also for recording your progress. (For more information on journaling, read Momscape’s article “Journaling: A Tool for the Spirit.")

If you are having trouble keeping a particular resolution, determine whether it is an appropriate goal. In your journal, make a list of the reasons you made this resolution in the first place. Then, review these pages each day.

Resolution reminders
Write your most important resolutions where you will see them every day. Post them on your refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, or as a scrolling marquis on your screensaver.

Be specific. Instead of writing that you wish to improve your marriage, write down the ways that you will fulfill that goal.  You might resolve to plan one date with your husband each week, pay more “small attentions,” and turn off the TV during dinner. 

While it’s important to record your goals in black and white, it does not make the actual process any easier. The achievement of your goals will not be an immediate end, but a process--at times, a long one.

With that in mind, it’s important to break your goals into manageable, bite-sized pieces, with plenty of planned rewards along the way. Create a timeline for your resolution, complete with daily and weekly goals. Post your timeline where you will see it each day. (Glenna Salsbury has written a wonderful workbook-style book on keeping resolutions called "The Art of the Fresh Start: How to Make and Keep Your New Year's Resolutions.")

Then get down to business. Take action to achieve those goals.  

Creative visualization will help, as well. This technique allows you to tap into the incredible power of images to keep the end in sight.

Imagine your life the way it will be when you achieve your goal.  Think of yourself as a non-smoker. Imagine yourself running up that flight of stairs without huffing and puffing. Imagine how clean and fresh your house will smell. Visualize yourself 20 pounds lighter…running to keep up with your kids, planning family hikes, eating health foods and enjoying all the extra energy that comes with them.

A support network of people with similar resolutions will help you win those day-to-day struggles and fuel your enthusiasm and energy, as well.