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Home / Articles / Columnists / The 15 Second Principle /  Renegotiating your New Year's Resolutions
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Tuesday, February 1,2011

Renegotiating your New Year's Resolutions

By Al Secunda  

This piece will be very helpful to read anytime during the year.

However, it can be especially timely in late January, February, and March if and when you are feeling shame, anger, and self loathing because you have already dropped the ball regarding your New Year’s Resolutions.

The first thing to know about most New Year’s Resolutions is that most of them are doomed to fail, even before the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s Eve. This is because most resolutions have many powerful self-sabotaging elements already built into them.

First, our resolutions are usually too grandiose in scale and depth and more often than not encompass too large a canvass. They are usually built on wishful fantasies rather than realistic and do-able goals.

Second, our resolutions are usually created to make up for past failures and lost time. Healthier life-styles that were abandoned, weight that was never lost, addictions that were never handled, novels that were never written, and musical instruments that were rarely touched are now our priorities for the new year.

However, these old and unrealized goals are still echoing from last year: “You already screwed this thing up -- so you better get your act together this year. Also, because these goals are fueled by past frustrations and disappointments, rather than passion, patience, creativity, and curiosity they carry a lot of old baggage, demands, seriousness, and emotions. Obviously, this is no way to approach any important and empowering goal.

What to do differently this year ...If you are already overwhelmed and having difficulty living up to your New Year’s Resolutions, it’s time to focus on creating a more nurturing, enjoyable, and realistic process for yourself. While you want to think big, break-up your challenging goal into very small and do-able mini-actions that can be accomplished on a daily basis. Follow the same directions you would for eating an elephant -- one bite at a time. Here are some additional suggestions.

a) Rather than trying to lose twenty pounds this year -- commit to releasing an ounce a day. Because we were taught never to lose anything, especially when we were children, releasing is a more positive, powerful, and supportive verb than the negative connotations that the verb losing has. (By releasing just an ounce a day, you will shed over 22 pounds in one year.)

b) Instead of attempting to write a novel this year and getting nowhere fast -- commit to writing a minimum of three sentences each day. Sentences create momentum which, in turn, creates pages, which, in turn, create chapters. Here’s a helpful reminder; even Shakespeare had to write one word at a time.

c) Rather than attempting to go for a two mile walk every day, and never getting out of the house, commit to walking a minimum of one block a day. After walking one block, see if you can commit to just one more block; and then just one more block; and then just one more block, etc.

d) Instead of promising to practice your musical instrument a half hour a day, and never going near it, agree to play it for a minimum of 15 seconds each day. Once you can go from zero to one -- see if you can play just a little longer.

Conclusion In closing, remember that the secret to realizing your New Year’s Resolutions (or any other dream or promise) is to build a masterful relationship with “The 15 Second Principle.” This can be accomplished by taking at least one empowering mini-action on a daily basis.

Mini-actions, produce momentum, which in turn, will produce results and feelings of possibility. Keep thinking big while acting small.

In addition, whenever you do not live up to your daily miniaction commitments, rather than getting angry, disappointed, or depressed -- remember the other half of The 15 Second Agreement and forgive yourself. The powerful skill of self-forgiveness will produce less internal stress and strife which will give you more freedom, mobility, and ease to return to your commitments sooner rather than later.


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