The season of New Year’s Resolutions is upon us, and for many of us, this brings thoughts of all those things that we’d like to change in our lives. You may want to stop smoking, or stop late-night snacking, or stop yelling at your children so much.
And by the end of January, many of us will be disappointed as we are faced with the fact that another year of resolutions has gone down the toilet.
Part of the reason for the failure of so many New Year’s resolutions is that we are focusing on what we want to stop doing, instead of painting a picture for ourselves of what we want our lives to look like. While we may have the best of intentions, trying to change something through sheer will-power is bound to fail. “Just Do It” is not a very effective strategy.
The third side of the Restitution Triangle is all about creating that picture (see “The Restitution Triangle” in the sidebar if you are not familiar with the triangle). The bottom line is that if you can’t picture it, you can’t achieve it.
We all know those kids who will promise to not hit/yell/tantrum/bully or whatever the concerning behavior is they may be engaging in – but even though they seem sincere in the moment, the follow through on the promise never happens. When we help kids to paint a picture – how they want their life to be, and how they will respond when the problem occurs – it’s then that we tap into internal motivation, and change happens. If they don’t see the point, or don’t believe it’s possible, it won’t be possible.
It’s no different for us. You have to honestly believe that life will be better when you make a change, and have a plan for what you are going to do differently before your New Year’s Resolutions will have staying power.
Spend some time painting a picture – for both you and the kids in your life – it is worth the investment!