Making resolutions at the beginning of a new year started about 4,000 years ago when Babylonians resolved to return borrowed items to their neighbour. In later times, Romans made promises to Janus, their god of new beginnings and transitions (and for whom January is so named), and medieval knights reaffirmed chivalry vows to their brotherhood.
Each year, many of us resolve to lose weight, exercise more, or quit a vice, such as smoking or drinking. We start January 1st with high motivation and willpower, only to see both wane within a few days or weeks, leading us back to old habits. Since the time of the ancient Babylonian empire, humans have made New Year’s resolutions and during the last four millennia we haven’t gotten any better at keeping them.
So, why is that? Why do so many of us have a difficult time seeing our resolutions through? We are all capable of being more mindful in our everyday lives so how can it be so easy to lose sight of our goals and forget about the purpose behind our resolutions? Finding the reason why you’re making a change is a huge part of making that change last.You have to honestly, genuinely and sincerely care why you’re doing what you’re doing.
But, how do you do that? How do you find your deep-down reasons why?
Start by determining your goal. For instance, you say “I want to start cross-country skiing to lose weight, feel better and make the most of Thunder Bay’s winters. I’d like to join a group at Kamview to train for the Sleeping Giant Loppet in March.” Great goal! But, why is it important to you?
Digging down to the real reasons your goal matters to you is as simple as this:
I want to ______________ because ____________.
Using the skiing example from above,
- I want to join a group to train for the Sleeping Giant Loppet because I’d like to meet more like-minded people.
Then, take the ‘because’ part of your sentence and move it to the ‘I want to’ space:
- I want to meet more skiers because having friends to ski with will motivate me to ski more, which will help me get in shape.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
- I want to get in shape because I don’t have much energy to play with my kids.
- I want to play with my kids because I want them to know I care by taking an active part in their childhood.
- I want to be a caring parent because I believe it’s part of living a meaningful life.
Suddenly, your goal of training for a ski race is about more than just getting in shape – it’s about meeting new people, making memories with your kids and living a fulfilling life!
Finding your reasons why is important because, unlike willpower, these motivations won’t waver and the more in tune you are with your intentions, the more consistently driven you’ll feel each day to meet your goals. Good luck this year - make 2018 a great one!