This is the time of year when people reflect on things they’ve accomplished or didn’t. It is a time of evaluation and planning – a time of preparing to take action with the intent of changing something you ostensibly don’t like or feel needs improvement.
Self-Evaluation: Pre-cursor to Self Improvement
The best way to do this is to be honest with yourself. We can’t truly improve if we can’t see the forest through the trees. Try to step back from your reflections and try to look at it from your partner’s view. Or, instead, choose somebody whom you respect – who portrays traits you want to emulate. How would he describe you or your situation? You don’t have to share, but be as honest as possible.
Look at both the positive and negative aspects – the big picture. Congratulate yourself for all of the positive! Go on — reward yourself. You deserve it!
Now, you can plan to change the other stuff. If it’s a big list, only choose 1 or 2, preferably related items. Taking on too much too quickly could be a recipe for failure. At the least, it stacks odds against you.
Increase Your Likelihood for Success
The next best way to increase your odds of accomplishment is to have a solid action plan. What exactly are you going to do differently? When are you going to do it? Be specific.
Most people leave out this step and wonder why aren’t able to keep their resolutions. Some of you reading this will spend excessive amount of time criticizing yourself for failing. Self-criticism is unproductive! Think about it. Whether you criticize yourself to force you to change, or you gently tell yourself to do better… either way is an attempt to change yourself. In the former, you feel bad about yourself, but in the latter, you don’t. Which do you prefer – to feel bad about yourself, or to feel good knowing you can still change and achieve your dreams? So…
When you fail, be kind to yourself. Convince yourself you’ll do it next time.
Believe it or not, feeling better about yourself will increase your likelihood for trying again and again and again ’til you achieve the results you want.
Ask for Help
Spend some time working through the details of how you’ll achieve your new year’s resolution. Don’t be shy about getting a buddy to work on the same goal or to ask for support from the people who are closest to you. Support and encouragement goes a long way in helping people, but it is often undermined.
A few years back, my new year’s resolution was to work on balancing my mind, body, and spirit. My action plan included specific times on when I would meditate, work, and do yoga. I included the type of yoga, props, and an instructional video (since I had just started yoga a couple days before). I scheduled yoga classes to be pre-recorded from cable, so they’ll be ready for me to follow along. This is one small example of how I planned to achieve my New Year’s Resolution. Yes, I take my own advice.
My final piece of advice is to track your daily progress. What works best for me is making a notation on my wall calendar for every day I do what I say I will do. That way, I can see daily and weekly at-a-glance how well I’m doing. Some weeks I fell short of my goal, but I didn’t give up. As a reward, it took me only a few months to finally do a headstand on my own without the support of the wall. I was very proud of myself!! Plus, I feel better about myself.
Good Luck! Feel free to keep me posted on your progress.