I know it’s trendy to be down on New Year’s resolutions these days, but in my heart, I am still a big believer in the tradition.
Granted, I’m not all that wild about the notion of trying to summon “resolve” (which sounds rather grim). But I am a fan of consciously choosing, at the transition of each year, to reflect a bit on how our lives have been going, and how we might like them to go differently in the months ahead.
One of my favorite things to do this time of year is to review the big commitments I made during the previous 12 months and see how I did in delivering on them.
I’ve come to prefer the term “commitment” over “resolution” because, as noted, “resolution” can elicit some negative connotations. It sounds vaguely judicial — impersonal, official, corrective. Historically, for a lot of us, the word also carries the unpleasant stink of failure.
“Commitment,” on the other hand, is a word that all of us understand intimately, not just in our heads, but in our hearts. Instinctively, we all want our commitments to mean something.
Making and fulfilling commitments — to ourselves and others — is what creates personal integrity. So, regardless of your take on resolutions, I think these questions are worth considering:
- What significant promises did I make this year — to myself and others?
- Which have I accomplished or made good progress toward, and which remain outstanding?
- What obstacles or limitations interfered with me fulfilling my commitments?
- What strengths or support systems helped me move ahead, even a little?
To me, this kind of reflection is invaluable, because if you don’t pause to evaluate your performance against your past commitments, how can you possibly make good decisions about how you want to allocate your time, energy, and focus going forward?
Which brings us to the next set of questions you might want to consider:
- What existing commitments do I want to carry over into the next year?
- What new commitments (if any) do I feel inspired to take on now?
- Where and when can I see myself taking action toward these commitments?
Your commitments don’t have to be heavy. You might commit to having more fun, to being more present and positive in your relationships, to paying closer attention to your own wellbeing, to making the world around you a kinder, better, more beautiful place.
You can commit to something big or something small, but I encourage you to commit to at least one thing you feel energized to accomplish this year.
Write your commitment down and post it somewhere you’ll see it daily. Then write down the “where and when” specifics of how you’ll take actions that support it.
Why? According to psychologist and motivational expert Heidi Grant Halvorson, PhD, “deciding in advance when and where you will take specific actions to reach your goal can double or triple your chances for success.”
One big commitment I made a few years ago and that I’m carrying forward again this year is supporting and participating in Life Time’s Commitment Day Festival and Fun Run.
This four-day event — dedicated to helping people embrace healthier, happier, more active lives — kicks off across the country on New Year’s Day.
It starts with a Commitment Day 5K Fun Run in more than 50 locations. The broader Commitment Day Festival takes place through the weekend at more than 100 Life Time locations, connecting members and nonmembers alike with all kinds of health-supporting experiences — from free educational Fit Talks and Workout Workshops to mini indoor triathlons presented in conjunction with our new IRONMAN partnership.
Find out more at CommitmentDay.com, then join me in sparking a healthy revolution — one where we all make our own health a priority, and help create a healthier country in the process.
Speaking of revolutions, if you haven’t already checked out Experience Life’s free, five-star-rated mobile app, “101 Revolutionary Ways to Be Healthy,” please do! It serves up a “Revolutionary Act of the Day,” plus related links to deeper reading — a great way to get your New Year off to a high-vitality start, and to keep your healthy commitments going all year long.