By Talya Flowers
There’s a running joke in my house around the New Year that we each start our resolutions on Dec. 31 and then break them on Jan. 1. That’s a stretch, but it never fails. We become motivated to begin— we start, and then slowly everyone forgets what their new year’s resolution was in the first place. Incredible. Now instead of making ourselves crazy by starting and stopping, we just do nothing. Nothing is easier than making a resolution and sticking with it throughout the New Year.
But let me tell you a secret: doing nothing is for the mediocre. You and I are not mediocre. Doing nothing is harmful because we are subconsciously telling ourselves that we do not matter, we do not trust ourselves, and/or that we do not value ourselves to commit to our goals and see them to fruition. When I realized that I was sabotaging myself and killing all of the potential chances that I had for success: I stopped making resolutions.
I stopped dead in my tracks.
I became self-aware and critical of the damage that I was causing myself. I became critical of myself, and I started to see a major flaw with my resolutions: I had the heart, the motivation, and the drive, but I lacked action. I constantly told myself that I would lose weight this year and when winter hit, I was back to the old me. It was a vicious cycle: I exercised extensively during the summertime. I would lose all the weight that I had gained. BUT I was not enjoying my summer because I was too busy exercising all of the weight off. By winter, I had amassed even more weight than what was lost. I was in a sense driving my own self crazy and sending the message that I could not be trusted.
A major shift occurred when a friend said “you are letting yourself go!” It was the truth. I did, I was, and I had. I had to start making some drastic changes. The next day after our heart-to-heart, while at work, I pulled out some construction paper, a marker and began to write out the goals that I had for the year. High on my new list was a healthy lifestyle and daily exercise. Instead of telling myself that I would start in a week or so, or when I felt like it, I started the next day. I woke up at 5 a.m. and began to run. On days that had prior commitments or needed to go to work early, I woke up even earlier. Why? Because instead of making a resolution, I made a goal, and a commitment to myself. I told myself that I was too valuable to accept any more lies. I told myself that I deserved to consume nothing but the best foods—healthy foods. As I reprogrammed my palette and mindset, the weight came off, and I began to work on other goals, always aware that being healthy is the first priority.
I am proud to say that was two years ago, and I am still going strong. I even went running in the cold several times, and it was fantastic. On the days that I do not go outside, I join a workout class, and, for me, it is mandatory and not optional.
Here are my six tips for keeping commitments:
1. Decide now
You are not a victim. You have the power to create and choose. Colossians 3:2 is a powerful reminder that once a decision has been made our minds will actively create pathways for success, but you cannot be double-minded. You have to decide and be firm and resolute.
2. Value yourself
I have been on this two year life style change because I learned to value myself. How much are you worth? How much do you value yourself? Those are two of the best questions to ask yourself before starting a new commitment.
3. Use Declarations/Affirmations
I am a giant fan of affirmations so on the days that I did not feel like getting out of bed at 5 a.m., I would ask myself “How much do you value yourself?” and then my body would jolt out of bed. Two of the best affirmations for starting difficult changes are “I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ, and I am disciplined and self-controlled,” which came from Joyce Meyer’s book Power Thoughts.
4. Visualize success
I never visualize myself to be skinny, I visualize myself to be healthy. And even still, I try not to visualize myself skinny because it becomes frustrating when the image in my head is not congruent with my body. I don’t do that, instead, I visualize myself cooking a healthy meal, getting out of bed excited to go running and fuel up my day, or meeting new friends during a group fitness class. Train your mind, like your body, to work for you and not against you.
5. Write out your goals
The minute I wrote out my goals on a large piece of paper and put them on my wall, my brain automatically reminded me of the commitment I made. Your mind will ensure that you do not forget.
6. Make a commitment
Once a commitment has been made on the inside, life begins to portray the fruits of your labor on the outside. It requires dedication and self-control and discipline. But you are worth it, remember?
Well, what are you waiting for? If you’re nervous, make a small commitment and increase as you go. I know right now, I am making huge commitments because I trust myself to only succeed. I know that I used the example of weight loss but you can make a commitment in any area of your life that has left you feeling stumped. For some, it is financial, mental, emotional, or relational struggles, but whatever it is make a decision that some things are going to have to change, and then begin to implement strategies for those changes. For 2016, the biggest commitment that I have made is stepping outside of my comfort zone and aiming higher because I want to succeed. How badly do you want it? Only you can define what “it” is, exactly.