“Approach the New Year with resolve to find the opportunities hidden in each new day. ” – Michael Josephson
Well, it’s that time of year when many reflect on the past twelve months and ponder, “Did I accomplish everything I wanted this year?” or “What changes can or should I make this coming year?”
Regardless of the questions one asks, if the conditions of one’s life do not change, then little to nothing has changed. It’s when change is found within that transforms one’s entire life.
At 15 years old I found myself overweight, depressed and angry. It was late December and I spent most of the year hanging out with friends on street corners and consuming dreadful fast food and take-out most of the time. As much as I loved blaming the cold weather for my self-neglect, I had no one else to blame for my 35-lb weight gain and I was desperate for change.
That New Year’s Eve I stayed up to watch TV and behold the infamous ball drop at Times Square. It was 15 minutes before midnight. My heart began to race as Dick Clark paused for a moment and asked his viewers, “Have you thought about your New Year’s resolutions?” Had I? Sure, but I had but one resolution in mind – to lose that excess weight.
The first two weeks of the new year were spent diligently eating healthier foods and walking at least a mile a day. As many resolutions slowly fade away however, the pounds quickly returned and even exceeded my weight on New Year’s Eve.
Devastated, I grabbed my journal from my desk drawer and began writing about what I felt was at the time a disheartening experience. In a state of pure self pity I realized that I was looking to revert back to the thin girl I was in the past, mainly so I could reinvent an unknown future.
I wrote as much as I could before falling asleep. The next morning I read my journal again and found the one sentence that helped me turn my New Year’s Resolution into a ritual:
“No matter what I do, I will never be the person I was, but I can be the person I am and be happy with her.”
Yes, I was unhappy with how my body looked, but I knew it wasn’t going to take a few weeks to get back into shape. I needed a plan, and it had to be executed daily.
There are ways to turn that short-lived resolution into a ritual that is not only filled with meaning but can last a lifetime:
Be true to yourself. Not everyone has the same aspirations as you do, so why follow an unchartered path that could inevitably lead to disappointment? This is your life, and no one but you is responsible for it. Goals are not always attained in the time we expect, but being true to yourself is the first step in achieving those goals.
Be realistic. When I initially decided that I would lose 38 pounds, I didn’t have the sense to create a realistic timeframe for this dream to come into fruition and had no way of achieving my goal. Take the time to write down the reasons why you desire improvement. Some have found that with this method there was no need for improvement per se, but an innate need for self-awareness. It isn’t how the media perceives our successes, but how each one of us perceives ourselves.
Be consistent. Anthony Robbins said, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” With much of our attention that continues to be taken away due to social media updates and other outlets, it is more important than ever to stay true to your dreams and be consistent in making them come true. Keep in mind the importance of the resolution in order to stay the course.
To transform a resolution into a ritual means to develop habits that enhance your well-being. Don’t wait another day to liberate yourself and be comfortable with yourself. You have surely earned it.
Now it’s your turn. Have you been able to keep those resolutions throughout the year? I would love if you shared your comments below.
About Michelle Cruz Rosado
Michelle Cruz Rosado is a professional speaker and bestselling co-author of "Pursuing Your Destiny: How to Overcome Adversity and Achieve Your Dreams." Follow Michelle for inspiring messages and quotes.