2018: Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and welcome to 2018! What a journey it’s been; full of laughter and tears, falls and triumphs, failures and successes. Just like you, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs throughout this game called life, and just like you, I’ve made many a New Year’s resolution too.

A resolution is a firm, solemn decision to create change. It may revolve around health and fitness, your job, your relationships, or any other aspect of your life. But in it’s roots, it is a commitment. So why is it that most New Year’s resolutions end up failing?

There are many reasons people can’t stick to their resolutions, including setting overly ambitious goals to getting derailed by small failures. Setting too many resolutions may also make it difficult to focus on what you are trying to achieve. Underestimating the difficulty of keeping a resolution may also be one reason why we fail to keep them.

We’ve all been there. Starting hot out of the gates on January 1st, and finding that a few weeks later, we aren’t being accountable. Falling off the wagon and trying to get back on is a tough process. It can be discouraging and exhausting. Often times we just end up dropping the ball and saying, “Next year will be my year.”

This is the mind set that “future you” will be stronger than “current you”; more resolute, more driven, more compelled to stick to your commitments. It’s the belief that another year of battling obstacles will give you the characteristics you need to push through your goals.

I find I hear a lot of “New Year, New Me” quotes being thrown out around this time of year, but in a few months when I look around, I see a lot of “New Year, Same Me’s” trudging through life.

I’m here to tell you that change starts now.

And it starts with being accountable. 
Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results. It also dictates that the responsibility be placed on you, No one is more powerful than you when it comes to achieving your goals. And guess what, no one can do it for you. This is where it’s important to really dig deep and understand why you are setting out to achieve these goals. It comes down to motivation. What is motivating you?

Intrinsic motivation is when you do something because you enjoy it or find it interesting, while extrinsic motivation is doing something for external rewards or to avoid negative consequences. Both types of motivation have a place in society, but studies show that people are more likely to stick to a task, invest more time in a task, and be more successful if they are intrinsically motivated. That means sticking to a resolution for you, not for something or someone else.

It’s important to look at a resolution as an opportunity rather then something hanging over your head, which is what being intrinsically motivated will help you achieve.

Common resolutions I see revolve around health and fitness. People committing to losing weight, eating better, quitting smoking. “What are the reasons for these goals?” These is a good question to b asking yourself. IF its to look better for someone else rather than to live a healthier lifestyle, the chances are that your resolutions are more likely to fail.

But by creating sustainable change directed towards intrinsically motivated resolutions, we can be more successful.

That leads to another vital point: sustainability.

The changes we make in order to achieve our resolutions should be something that we can continue over a prolonged period of time. Most resolutions require a lifestyle change, and no one can create a large change like that without first making smaller, incremental changes. For example, if your resolution is “losing weight” then making small changes to your daily habits will help jump-start you on a sustainable path. On the other hand, making drastic changes that overhaul your entire life may lead to a less successful attempt towards meeting your goals. An example of a small change would be taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, or eating one plant based meal a day. Each small step will add up to create larger change.

Change starts now. Being accountable, intrinsically motivated, and creating sustainable changes will help you stick to your resolutions. Don’t take a back seat towards becoming a better you. 

Be a Catalyst for change. 


 Dr. Danny Dulay


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