12/31/2012 12:24 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2013

Ditch the Resolutions and Create Real Change That Lasts!


Why do New Year's resolutions have such a high failure rate? As anybody with a gym membership can tell you, it's tough to even find a parking space, let alone a machine or spot in class during the first couple of weeks of January when all the resolutioners are hard at work on their new bodies. But what happens to all of these people by the first week of February?

The word "resolution" itself has a bit of a negative connotation to it. Just as we collectively resolve to make brighter days for ourselves, we collectively accept that it's okay not to follow through with them. Nobody else is following through with theirs, right? Many resolutions are just a wish and a dream (which is a great place to start), but they lack the long-term planning and vision to carry them out to success. So, why not ditch the "r" word all together and commit to real change that will last?

Those who are able to keep the momentum going have somehow found a way to tap into their passion, an important element of long-term success. They've also taken a realistic look at themselves, devised a plan that they can stick to, and aren't afraid of hard work. Are you ready to take on 2013 yourself? Here are five strategic steps to help guide you down this path for the long haul.

  1. Go inward for guidance.

    If a desire comes from your heart and soul, there is a much better chance that you will stay in hot pursuit of it. It starts with self-awareness. You have to go inside and really listen. Daily meditation practice is a lovely way to get to the core of our being. The process of silencing all the chatter in our minds allows us beautiful glimpses of who we really are and what drives us. It's about getting out of our heads, where limiting beliefs exist, and getting into our hearts and souls, where our higher-self resides. The answers are all inside. We just need to find a way to silence the chatter in our minds so we can listen to our inner-guide.

  2. Uncover your passion and purpose.

    This is an extension of number one that invites you to go a little deeper. Our passions often get lost inside us, which is why you might hear people say they need to "find" themselves. The aforementioned meditation practice will certainly help. But there are also some great written exercises to get you there. Passion and purpose are wonderfully-driving motivators. Writing is a powerful tool that can help you get a glimpse at what is really going on inside at a deeper level. Grab a journal and stretch your brain to come up with 25 answers to the two questions below. The first few answers will come very easily, but really dig deep for more. It's the stretching that is going to surprise you the most and provide you with the most insight.

    1. Whenever I am ______, I lose all track of time.
    2. If I had unlimited money, I would spend my days_____.

    What themes are you finding? What answers surprised you? These are all clues to discovering your soul's true calling.

  3. Next comes vision. Where do you see yourself in five years? Write it!

    It's hard to get to any place unknown without a map! Your vision will change slightly from year to year, so you don't need to write it in stone, but you do need to write it. Just have fun with it. Imagine writing a journal entry five or 10 years out and reflecting back. Where do you want to be in your life in the future? What was the journey like that took you there? How does it look, feel, taste, smell, and sound? Use all of your senses in your writing. Know that if you can dream it, you can become it. Keep this story handy where you can revisit it often, or even hang it where you will see it every day. Your vision story is powerful and will gently nudge and guide you along your path, even subconsciously.

  4. Time to face reality.

    Okay, so now you have come to terms with what your calling is and even have a beautiful vision story of where the next few years shall take you. Now comes the tough part. Look around you. What activities in your life are not currently serving you or bringing you to the blissful place in your vision? What beliefs in your own mind are stopping you from experiencing pure joy and chasing your dreams? Do certain people only take from you and never give back or perhaps have a negative energy that brings you down? Do you have bad habits that are stopping you from reaching your goals? Self-doubt? All of these are huge road blocks that won't let you get to your happy place. Identifying them is critical, and, if you can't do it alone, I would suggest hiring a life coach (possibly the best self-investment you will ever make), if you can swing it. If you are on a budget, no problem! Get to journaling again for opportunities of self-discovery, get reading to help you better understand whatever it is that you need to gain more knowledge about, and get networking with like-minded folks who can help you along your path.

  5. Finally: A plan of action.

    Now it's time to get to work and "make it happen." Put together everything you've learned and come up with a plan. What do you need to change or do differently to get to that special place in your vision story? Maybe you have some major changes to make. Don't let that stress you or deter you from your dreams. Rome wasn't built in a day. Just take one step at a time. What are a few daily habits you can implement to get you on the path of your dreams? What are some tools or accountability systems you can put in place to set yourself up for long-term success? Start out with just one or two changes at a time. Be gentle with yourself if you get off the path. Just pick yourself up and start again. Don't forget to give yourself credit for even the baby steps you make toward a new you. You're doing it! The small changes you start to make in thinking, habits, energy and vibrations are going to set big, wonderful, beautiful side-effects into place. Warning: You might just find yourself overflowing with joy and all of your dreams coming true. Enjoy... you deserve it!

Want to explore some of these concepts at a deeper level? Contact me to see if you could benefit from one-on-one coaching! Want some daily inspiration and positive insights? Come join us on my Facebook page! I wish you all the very best in 2013 and beyond. May you all be blessed!

For more by Dawn Gluskin, click here.

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