Resolutions: Just For Today

You know that episode of How I Met Your Mother in which Marshall makes a “sweeping declaration” that he will “never get drunk again”? In case you haven’t seen it  (season 7, ep 2), it’s probably not hard to believe that in the next scene we find Marshall… you guessed it… drunk. What?!? Right. Drunk. And again. And again.

The storyline works because there is truth to it. Somehow, every time we make “sweeping declarations” we are instantly under enormous pressure. Most of us also have a history of failing to keep such promises. The odds are not stacked in our favor.

So, what will work? How can we make resolutions that work, that stick, that get us to our desired goal?

Instead of a sweeping declaration for all of time, remember that we live in the here and now. This. This moment is where we are and this is our point of decision making. Right now. Not yesterday. Not next week. Now.

Know your goal. Get clear about what it is. It might be sobriety. It might be to set a new marathon PR. It might be running a 5K for the first time (or the first time in years)! It might be losing 20 pounds. It might be being nice to your office mate (you know, the one with the loud laugh who rolls her eyes when she hears about your weekend plans). Perhaps your goal is to flawlessly lip sync  “Say My Name” by Destiny’s Child. Maybe your goal is for your next career move. Maybe it’s about keeping your car clean. Maybe it is to look at yourself in the mirror with eyes of love. (Doesn’t that feel amazing.)

Travel, fitness, nutrition, relationships, career, spiritual practice, art projects, education, self-discovery, etc…

Whatever your goal, write it down! Write down the big goal and the steps along the way. Write down the details of your ideal situation, what it looks like for you to have rocked the sh*t out of that goal!

Next step: (and don’t skip this one because this is at the heart of your process) Write down WHY this goal matters to you. This is your motivation. This is what you can refer to in your decision-making process. This is your fuel, your carrot, your guide.

Now step back. Take a breath. And think about taking one day at a time.

There is a Reiki prayer based on the principle of being in the present. It goes like this.

Just for today, I will give thanks for my many blessings.
Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not be angry.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.
(from Diane Stein, Essential Reiki)

We can adopt a similar mindset with setting new goals or resolutions. When we break it down into smaller chunks, we can more easily focus. We don’t have to think about the foreverandever of it, which–let’s be honest–can feel kind of overwhelming. All we have to pay attention to is the here and now. Just for today.

Just for today, I will move my body in joy.
Just for today, I will drink 10 cups of water.
Just for today, I will feed my body with these (healthy) real foods.
Just for today, I will _________________.

It is through lifestyle changes that we achieve our goals. And how do we change our lifestyle? One day at a time.

Here’s to beautiful change! You’ve got this.

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