…is a powerful word. It’s charged with commitment and determination. The word resolution comes from the Latin resolutionem, which means the process of reducing things into simpler forms.
The root word of resolution is resolve, which means to decide.
If I haven’t lost you in the Latin lecture, stay with me, because I’m about to help you strengthen your resolve to stick to your new years’ resolutions, or help you to let go of them without guilt and shame.
To help you remember, I’ve used the acronym of R.E.S.O.L.V.E and come up with the following suggestions:TIP ONE:
Make it Realistic
In other words, don’t set yourself up for failure before you even begin. If you have a fear of heights and decide at the turn of the year that you will conquer this by jumping out of an aeroplane before the end of January, re-consider doing something a little less terrifying to begin with – as the Latin root suggests: break it down into smaller pieces – maybe try booking an upper circle seat in a theatre or ride the London Eye. Once you’ve done that, the plane jump may not be as daunting.TIP TWO:
Engage with it on a daily basis
Live your resolution daily. For example, if your resolution is to get fit, don’t just spend one or two days a week at the gym, or going for a run. Commitment requires momentum, and momentum needs habitual practice, so every day, see what you can do to introduce exercise into your routine, even if it’s only for a few minutes. The important thing is that you’re getting yourself into the habit and doing a little bit towards your resolution every day.TIP THREE:
Get yourself some Support
Don’t underestimate the power of support from others. Pick one or two people in your life who you can check in with every day to say how you’re doing. My best friend used to text me every night to say she’d meditated and eaten a piece of fruit that day, as that was her goal. If I didn’t hear from her, I’d text her the next morning and if necessary we’d have a chat to get her back on track. Pick someone who will help you keep to your word, and remind you why you chose this resolution in the first place.TIP FOUR:
Own it as your own Resolution
If you’re taking on a resolution to please someone else, it’s not your own and you’re more likely to fail at achieving it. Your friends and family tell you to give up smoking. But are you telling yourself that? Or are you telling yourself you should? If that word is in your head, good luck. You will fail at your resolution because you are not fully and truly resolved when you tell yourself you should. Try this exercise: say out loud, I should (fill in the blank with your resolution) and repeat this out loud a few times. Now say out loud I will (and fill in the blank with your resolution) and repeat this out loud a few times. Alternate between saying out loud I should and I will.
Notice what you feel when you say each sentence – it’s likely you’ll feel weaker towards your resolve when you’re saying the should word and you’ll know when you’re saying the will word whether you really mean it.
Be honest with yourself. If this is something you truly want to achieve, go for it. And if it’s not, for goodness sake let yourself off the hook. Don’t force yourself into submission – you’ll likely rebel at some point and go back to eating chocolate or smoking 2 packs instead of one.TIP FIVE:
Love yourself whether you achieve it or not
This is so important. Your inner critic will have a field day if you allow it to and it’s such a waste of energy beating yourself up. Better to invest the time in asking yourself why you didn’t stick to your resolution – write it out and be honest with yourself. You’ll find this will reveal whether you truly want to stick with it, or let it go. And while you’re asking yourself the question why, make sure you also write out why you chose the resolution in the first place. This will help you to strengthen your resolve, or realise you don’t have enough motivation to achieve it. Either way, it’s ok.TIP SIX:
Visualisation is an extremely powerful technique. Arnold Schwarzenegger said he won Mr Universe by first having the vision of himself winning. Holding that vision created the impetus and energy for him to achieve that goal. So with your eyes closed, in your mind’s eye, see yourself achieving your resolution and here’s the important bit: feel what it feels like to be living your resolution. Do this often.TIP SEVEN:
Really, life is too short to be miserable. That being said, it may not be easy to enjoy giving up smoking or sugar or an unhealthy relationship. But the bit you can enjoy is the fact that you’ve got the courage and willingness to give it a shot. Enjoy your progress, even if it’s small steps and give yourself a pat on the back for going for it. And if you decide your resolution isn’t a fit this time, enjoy the fact that you can be honest with yourself and let it go without shame. Remember, you always have a choice.