Sam Mednick is a professional life and executive coach based in Barcelona (www.blueprintcoaching.ca). A Canadian native, she’s been living in the city for eight years working with companies as well as individuals focusing on transitions, communication, leadership training, time management and productivity as well as emotional intelligence development. For more coaching tips, tune into her Podcast
THIS MONTH: THIS NEW YEAR...COMMITTING TO COMMIT
Every New Year, I make the same resolution: Stop eating out and start cooking—something I love doing, yet never make time for. Usually, my resolutions have a short shelf life. Last year, I only survived three weeks before reverting back to takeout and tapas. In general, I find it extremely hard to stick to things and was wondering if you could give me some tips on how to commit to something, and stay committed. I’d love for this year to be different from the last!
Hi Aspiring Homemaker,
This is a ‘double whammy’ you’ve embarked upon; on one hand you’ve got the not eating out in Barcelona challenge and on the other, following through on your commitments. From someone who uses her oven for storage, I applaud you for tackling the prospect of eating in more often, as you’re right, it’s something that’s particularly hard to do in this city. As for what you can do to stay committed to your resolution (and anything for that matter), before we tackle the ‘how’, I’d challenge you to first focus on the ‘why’.
Why do you keep making and breaking the same resolution? If you truly love cooking, why is it so hard to make it a priority?Before being able to follow through with a commitment, it’s important to explore the nature of the commitment itself. If we don’t understand why we’re choosing to do something, it’s a lot harder to stick to and embrace it.
A good question to ask yourself when deciding on a new year’s resolution, or implementing a life change is: Does this align with my values?
Very few of us take a second to stop and question what’s important in our lives. It’s only once we’ve defined our core values that we can truly understand our commitments and decide if they’re in line with our beliefs. If we can do that, it becomes a lot easier to motivate ourselves to follow through with them.So once you’ve explored the ‘why’ and have decided that the commitment is worth pursuing, here are a few things you can do to help see it through:
Use committed language: When speaking about something you want to do, use words that convey definition and decision: I will do this, I’ll find a way, I’ll do it. When you speak like this, you shift your mind into believing that you can and will do what you set out to do.
Tell people about your commitment: It’s a lot harder and takes more time to change in a vacuum. Allow others to help you along the way by telling them about your goal.
Decide what is in your committed space: We all have our own circle of things we commit to—things that never waiver, no matter what, from never missing a yoga class, to a morning walk with the dog. These are things that we’ve decided to put in our ‘committed space’. We all have this space available to us, some of us put more or less in it and the questions we need to ask ourselves in order to maximise the space are: What’s already in that circle and what needs to happen for other things to make it into that circle?
Be realistic about the commitment and break it down: Many of us bite off more than we can chew, especially around the New Year when we’re inspired to make vast resolutions. Keep in mind that you’re changing a pattern; in some cases a lifetime of the same pattern and that takes time. Instead of feeling like you have to tackle the whole thing at once, break it down into bite size chunks and start implementing the commitment little by little. For example, if you want to eat out less, why not pick a day every week, where you make sure that you cook a meal at home. Start with one day, put it in your ‘committed circle’ and once that becomes routine, pick another day to join it in that space.
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