Resolutions: Mapping Goals for Willpower and Success

Resolutions: Mapping Goals for Willpower and Success

Most of us set goals, yet the vast majorities neglect to pack the willpower generating maps needed to productively navigate these resolutions.

Using past habits to create present successes is not an effective goal strategy: with each day we metaphorically step into a new river of possibilities, managing “what is” requires we constantly re-calibrate our coordinates.

Bedrock perceptions of yesteryear may now prove slippery stones in our paths to progress: We relinquish our abilities to consciously make the changes we desire when we follow these worn paths of familiarity. In The Power of Habit, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Charles Duhigg notes:

“When a habit emerges, the brain stops fully participating in decision-making. Unless you deliberately fight a habit – unless you find new routines – the pattern will unfold automatically.”

Notice the adverb “deliberately” in the above passage: The True North of resolution attainment is Awareness: Presence allows us the wherewithal to sift through our behaviors and determine whether our actions are propelling us toward our goals or compromising our efforts. Positive change comes as a result of knowingly customizing decisions to appropriately match what we’ve set out to accomplish.

Four guideposts to help make your goals a successful journey:

  1. Pack thoughtfully: New Year’s resolutions typically focus on obtaining some tangible outcome (earning more money, losing weight). These test-measures can lead to anxiety, self-judgment, and failure because they must be externally acquired. Instead, travel within and quiet your competitive mind: Look deeply, committing to paper what is truly meaningful to you. You’ll know you’re on the right track if these beliefs conjure emotion. Make these heartfelt principles your fuel source: keeping meaningful convictions top-of-mind will steadfastly propel you toward your goals.
  2. Identify roadblocks: Internal conflicts indicate behavior patterns that are no longer useful. List any beliefs that may be keeping you from your purpose. Example: I never get around to my goals because I’m too busy putting out other peoples fires.
  3. Remove the road kill: Determine if your actions aid in your journey or create goal detours. In the above instance, ask yourself: Does anyone have the Right to make you their fire-fighter? Would you expect those around you to put out your fires for you? How would you feel if someone sacrificed their goals and desires for your sake?
  4. Change lanes: It is your God-given Right to change your mind. Give yourself permission to alter plans and decisions if it serves in getting to your destination. Remember: If you had all the answers all the time, your starting line would also be your finish line: There would be no need for a journey – and what fun is that?

Once you’ve cleared your path using the above guideposts, focus on ways of expressing the abilities you already possess: Instead of longing to be a different version of yourself, invest in who you are, and then share your uniqueness.

As we take stock in our own strengths, our ability to affect change multiplies.

The best way to make a world of difference this year is to realize the solutions are already in your own hands. Don’t strive to change, instead, embrace what is meaningful and use your talents to contribute your significance to the greater good.

Now that’s a Resolution worth keeping…

I’ve put together a short list of further reading on this subject:

  1. New Years Resolution: Just Be Yourself Oprah Magazine
  2. Five Steps to Setting Powerful IntentionsDeepak Chopra
  3. Eight Tips for Building a Better Social LifeWayne Dyer