At the start of every New Year, we make our resolutions — we are encouraged by the freshness of it all.
What lies ahead are the endless possibilities for a new start. We are determined that this is the year we will lose that extra 10 pounds or get in shape. This is the year we’re finally going to visit our favorite aunt and uncle. This is the year we’re going to spend more time playing with the kids or grandkids, or that we are going as a family to finally see the Grand Canyon or some other historical site that we’ve always wanted to see.
All these self-made promises are well-meaning and I believe totally sincere. So why is it that by February most of us have given up on the daily exercise goal or have already stopped dreaming about making our resolutions come true? I think part of it is lack of accountability. Human nature does not like to hold itself accountable very often. Unless you fall in the rare category of the well-disciplined individual, the chances are you’re like the rest of us, well-intended but lacking focus and discipline.
So how and by whom can we be held accountable? I propose that we find an individual who has our best interest in mind but does not try to control our behavior. It can be a spouse, a best friend or trusted adviser. In a professional setting, it can be a partner, an executive coach, a boss or even a direct report. In a spiritual setting, it can be a bishop or another adviser. Rest assured that if the willingness for change is sincere, the people and resources already exist.
The other half of the equation is the fact that we don’t let go of “old stuff” or old dysfunctional patterns. Let me illustrate: if you decided to get a new dining room set for your home, what would you have to do? Well, first you’d go shopping; you’d pick the one you like and then have it delivered to your home. Imagine the delivery folks ringing your doorbell and asking you where you’d like the new set to go. The answer is, “Just crowd it in there with the old dining room set!” Now of course that’s ridiculous-sounding, isn’t it? Don’t we usually sell the old set or give it away, before the delivery of the new one takes place?
This makes perfect sense when it comes to physical things such as the example above. We would make room for the new by getting rid of the old. How about old patterns and habits that are weighing us down? I look forward to every spring because there’s that sense of renewal! Everything is turning green, people seem happier as they begin to work outside on their flowers and water their lawns. They plant seeds in their vegetable gardens and hope to taste the delicious “fruits of their labor” in the summer.
Well, what do we need to make room for in our lives, and why should we wait until next New Year’s Day to make another resolution for change? Now is the very best time to eliminate one dysfunctional thought pattern or behavior and replace it with seeds of happiness and health. What will it be for you?
As for me and my house, it is to live more in the here and now! Worry less about what the future will bring. Just thinking about the future causes such stress to mind and soul. And who knows what it’s doing to the body? My goal is to enjoy every moment. The kids are getting older and our time with them will be short-lived. I need to be in the present mentally, physically and emotionally. Carpe Diem! Seize the Day!
Mark Twain once said that he had a lot of troubles in his life, but most of them never happened. In other words, most of them are in our heads as we worry and stress about the future. So that’s my new “spring resolution,” and I hope that you’ll all keep me accountable!
Now it’s your turn: what thought or behavior will you give up and what will you replace it with? More importantly, who will help you by holding you accountable? It’s not too late! I know making even one change for the positive — and sustaining it — will make 2009 a memorable year!
Dr. Elia Gourgouris is a nationally known speaker, relationship coach, and the president of LDSCoaching.com. With over 20 years of experience, he has inspired thousands of individuals and couples to find greater happiness and fulfillment, both in their careers and their personal lives. He holds a degree from UCLA and a Ph.D. in psychology. Dr. Gourgouris speaks to groups around the country regarding women’s issues, self esteem, communications skills, and relationships. He is also a favorite presenter at both BYU and BYU-ID Education Weeks, and Time Out for Women conferences. He is the author of “DTR: What You Need to Know Before You Get Married” and he has an upcoming CD entitled “The Multi-Platinum Marriage: Going from Just Surviving to Thriving!” He and his wife, Sona, live near Boulder, Colorado, with their children.