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Home Letters The Do’s and Don’ts of New Year’s Resolutions, from Dionne Chamberlain

The Do’s and Don’ts of New Year’s Resolutions, from Dionne Chamberlain

Good morning, and happy Monday!

As I was working on the Leadercast webpage, I came across an article that is very close to the way I think, so I thought I would share bits and pieces of it.

As the New Year approaches, people everywhere take time to reflect on the 12 months that have passed them by. They think about their achievements and failures and consider what they’d like to do differently over the next 365 days. New Year’s is a time of self-reflection, meditation and planning as we make resolutions for the year to come and define clear expectations that will guide us to be the best versions of ourselves.

Before making resolutions here’s a few words of advice that may sound harsh but are very real towards you creating the success you want.

Get Rid of the Crap Around You – You are who you hang with. Want to be a top performer? Hang with top performers. Look for people that believe something is possible. Rid your world of those who complain, make excuses, disrespect others and tear down others so they can feel good about themselves.

Do Not Care What Others Think – Just do you. Stop being who you think or what you think will be acceptable to others. It makes you unremarkable. If you want to be remarkable, you need to be you. If you are hanging with people who influence you to not be you, lose them. For God’s sake, stop trying to impress people you do not like anyway.

Forget About Balance – Do not listen to those who tell you that you need to be balanced. By who’s definition? It seems that those who lack commitment to something or claim that they would prefer to live a balanced life versus an extraordinary one, seem to play the balance card. You need to manage your life by your terms and not by someone else’s.

Stop the Classic Cycle of Learning – Too many of us spend the first half of our lives learning and the second half of our lives going on autopilot and living the life we chose in the first half based on what we did or didn’t learn. Screw that. Continue to learn, stress the brain, challenge it! There should be new versions of you every year.

Trust Your Intuition – Your intuition is the software that you were born with. I personally believe that intuitively we know who and what we were born to do. Trust your intuition and follow it. I do not mean to be reckless. If you really truly feel that you should be doing “X” for a living or for your passion, go do “X”. Intuition is our natural frequency and where the universe intended us to be operating.

Take Care of the Machine – Watch what you eat. Watch what you drink. Exercise for the long game. Our body is the vehicle that carries our existence; take decent care of it. Sure, slide into the last day a little beat up, scarred, wrinkled and sore. Get use and juice out of life. Play the long game, though.

Not My Monkey and Not My Circus – Do not take on other people’s issues. You can’t fix them, they can only fix themselves. Be a good friend, be a good listener, but do not own the baggage that they try and pass off on to you or hold you responsible for. You can’t save someone who does not want to save themselves. You cannot want it more than them.

Do Not Count the “L’s” or the “W’s” – Do not keep score. You do not get bonus points for being ahead at the end of the first quarter. It is an infinite game, play it that way. Stay in the game and never bet all of your chips.

“I will stop procrastinating.”
“I will work less and spend more time with my family.”
“I will go to the gym and eat healthier.”

Any of these sound familiar? Resolutions are made with the best of intentions—we see negative habits and behaviors within ourselves and strive to make a change for the better—but are they really effective?

Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek and the recently published Tribe of Mentors, is notorious for his thoughts on New Year’s resolutions: He doesn’t believe in them. He once said, ”The problem with New Year’s resolutions—and resolutions to ‘get in better shape’ in general, which are very amorphous—is that people try to adopt too many behavioral changes at once. It doesn’t work. I don’t care if you’re a world-class CEO—you’ll quit.”

The issue with New Year’s resolutions comes when we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves—those that demand we magically, somehow overnight, form new habits and adhere to them with perfection. And when we inevitably falter in these all-new habits of ours, we eventually give up on them entirely. In the case of the ‘get healthy’ resolution that tops many people’s lists year after year, setting unrealistic expectations is the reason why gyms are their busiest in January but get calmer as the year goes on. I passed by the newly opened “Burn box” gym and noted that it was full. I got excited hoping it was not only a fad.

Instead of making lofty resolutions, set actionable goals for yourself that you can work on throughout the year that build up to an overarching decision, not resolution, as decisions live on while resolutions become resolved. There’s nothing wrong with setting New Year’s Decisions, but the key to ensuring they’re achievable and truly worth your time pursuing is pairing them with goals that will help you form new habits. Don’t make a resolution to hit up the gym every day if you haven’t been in months. Set a goal and make a decision to go to the gym once a week in January, then twice in February, and so on. Start small and work your way up to your larger, everyday goal.

And if you’re looking for a new end-of-year tradition that’s as reflective and meditative as setting resolutions, consider taking part in our one-word challenge.  For this exercise, think of one word that sums up what kind of leader you’d like to be in 2019. For me, that word is #present.  As a working mother, I want to establish the good habit of staying present in all I do: I want to remain present in my marriage, in my parenting and in my clients’ lives to ensure all of these important areas of my life get the energy they deserve from me.

Instead of assigning yourself with a list of unrealistic resolutions, the One-Word example gives you a simple, thematic reminder of how you want to better yourself over the course of the year. Although this may go against the “SMART” goal-setting structure, as a leader it’s important to remember we set the tone for our followers: Maybe instead of proving we can push ourselves to overambitious goals that realize immediate success, we should show that we, as humans, are a work in progress.

What word describes what kind of leader you want to be in 2019? Please share with me.

Have a fantastic week! Be happy! Namaste.

With love,
Dionne Chamberlain Miranda

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