There are quite a few ways to ensure that any New Year Resolution works for you. There are simple steps, but you still have to take them.

Maybe you’ve decided on some healthy lifestyle changes? What could be more important than that? Congratulations, and here are some helpful thoughts for the future.

The first step towards any goal is commitment, you need to commit to the decision and the goal you have chosen, and the changes you want to make.

Many of you would be familiar with a story board, or visualizing what you want, and drawing, or cutting and pasting pictures of things that make up your goal to put on the board.

In other words, creating a vision, a concrete picture in your mind of what you want to do.

While keeping your vision or picture in mind you write out an action plan. It’s a good idea at this point to ask yourself “Why?” Why do you want to do this thing, or make these lifestyle changes. The why is the driver for the whole plan and the goal. Why do you want to do it? It has to be a strong why which will carry you right through the project.

Some people may have an extremely strong why. For example, if they don’t stop smoking pronto they are likely to die of lung cancer, emphysema, cancer of the throat or somewhere else. Someone else may have a very strong why regarding their weight. If they don’t rid themselves of those extra pounds or kilograms, they risk cardiac problems or diabetes. That’s why they want to lose weight.

It’s vital that you have a very clear plan of action. You need to think carefully about the steps involved in making these changes, any obstacles that might get in their way, and whether they have the time and resources and supports which will be necessary. Planning in this way makes it more likely that they will remain committed, and see the project through to a successful end.

My favourite quote on commitment is from W.H. Murray, of the Scottish Himalayan Expedition 1951. It’s dated now, but still very relevant. He said:

…Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

Begin it now!”

Step back from any project that you have committed yourself to and you can see that all happening. It could be planning for an overseas holiday. With careful planning, everything happens the way you want it to happen, and all manner of help and resources can come your way.

So begin, be bold and realise your dream.   Happy New Year from Kathleen.

(Johan Wolfgang von Goethe was a German writer, poet and statesman, born Frankfurt in 1749)

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