Align Personal Values with New Year's ResolutionsDec 03, 2012
In case you missed my article in the Los Alamos Daily Post it is reprinted below.
Every April in New Mexico I observe hundreds of people walking many miles on Good Friday before Easter to El Santuario de Chimayo Shrine. As I scan the crowd it is clear that for the majority of the crowd this trek is the farthest they will walk all year.
Impressed and confused by this annual spectacle I wondered why these people would undertake such a physical task one day each year. As a wellness coach, I wanted to know their secret. If I could figure out what inspired them to move, maybe I could use the same power to propel my clients off the couch.
A similar change in health habits is seen during pregnancy. An addicted chain smoker quits while carrying her developing child only to light up shortly after delivery. And the daily alcohol drinker abstains from liquor for nine months.
Getting married or attending a reunion can induce the same phenomenon. Struggling with weight for years, the pounds are finally dropped when the date arrives.
December is the season to reflect on the previous year and look forward to the new year. Many make resolutions to improve, only to abandon these good intentions before the end of January. If, however, you could tap into the force that underlies the success of the pilgrims, pregnant women and brides, 2013 would be the year to make your resolutions stick.
What is their secret? The answer, I've learned, is these people are emotionally connecting to a deeply held value within, and sometimes beyond themselves. For the pilgrims it is a religious belief, for the expectant mom it is the health of her unborn child, and for the bride it is the life event of marriage.
The mistake made in setting resolutions is taking an intellectual approach which relies on will power alone for achievement. Behavior change is rarely successful long-term using the mind over matter strategy.
When you uncover your inner motivation that is aligned with your personal values, lasting change will result. When setting your resolutions, ask yourself why you want to achieve it? What makes it important to you and how will your life be different if the outcome is achieved? Reach beyond the easy answers and consider not only physical attributes, and explore how you will feel, the impact it will have on your relationships, and what opportunities may open up for you as a result of the accomplishment.
Being able to tap into and be reminded of your intense desire and motivation is what will keep you on track, moving past the obstacles along your journey.
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