Resolutions easy to make, easier to break
coaches offer tips to help you keep on track to your goals
08:23 PM CST on Sunday, December 31, 2006
PAULA LAVIGNE / The Dallas Morning News
At 11:59 tonight, you swear that chocolate-covered peanut butter ball is
going to be your last.
As of tomorrow, you're on a diet.
Or you've just vowed to quit smoking, find a new job, take a vacation or
stop drinking – as soon as you finish that champagne toast.
People have been making and breaking New Year's resolutions for
4,000 years. Way back when, they didn't have self-help books, motivational
tapes, hypnotists and life coaches to help people stay with their goals.
The custom stems from Janus (hence, January), a mythical Roman figure. His
two faces allowed him to look both forward and backward in time, and that
symbolized beginnings and endings.
In Roman times, it was common to resolve to forgive one's enemies. Modern
resolutions have less to do with forgiveness, and more to do with stick-to-it-iveness.
Dallas life coach Michele Wahlder favors making New Year's resolutions. In
fact, she worked on hers for four hours on a recent flight home from New York.
(One of them is to travel to Spain and learn Spanish.)
She writes down specific steps she'll take to reach the goal and then
visualizes how they'll play out. Many people break their resolutions because
they didn't plan them out, she said.
"You say you're going to lose weight, but then
you didn't remember to pack nuts and carrots to eat at the office. And they
have cupcakes," she said, and your hunger will give in to the sweet-tooth
temptation. "It's not just about losing weight. It's a lifestyle
Ms. Wahlder offered three tips for sticking to a goal:
•Write it down.
•Share it with someone else.
•Set 30-, 60-, and 90-day benchmarks and review your progress.
"You have to think of the long-range goal of what you want and then
break it down into smaller bits so you feel successful on a month-to-month
basis," she said.
Ms. Wahlder gave the example of a client writing a novel. The overall task
was daunting, so they set a goal for him to write a certain number of words
Although people blame lack of motivation or willpower for falling short of
their goals, Ms. Wahlder said they need to look at other reasons as well.
Perhaps they're afraid of success.
A woman struggling to lose weight told Ms. Wahlder she feared that slimming
down would make her husband want to have sex with her again – something she
didn't necessarily desire.
People also might misstate their goals, Ms. Wahlder said. Wanting to be a
famous singer might simply mean you crave the spotlight. Maybe you can
accomplish that by speaking up more often at PTA meetings, she said.
Pick "heart-inspired" goals as well, she said.
"Take the word 'should' out of your vocabulary. Do things that you really,
really desire," she said. "Not things that other people want from
Dallas Life Coach, Michele Wahlder • website: www.michelewahlder.com
• email: firstname.lastname@example.org