Don’t Make a Resolution, Start a Revolution

Image: Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones in Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001), Miramax.com

Join the Club

If you are like hundreds of millions of people around the world, you made a resolution for 2017.

Good for you!

Good for me, too!

I mean, look what it did for Bridget Jones! At first, she mocked New Year’s resolutions, sarcastically telling Mark Darcy she wanted to cut down on drinking and quit smoking, all while holding a mimosa and cigarette in either hand. It was the sting of Mark’s rejection after the fact that made her realize that maybe, just maybe, she lacked that little something special in her life.

It is not that we need to change for other people — no thanks! It is more that we need to be comfortable in our own skin, proud of who we are as individuals. We all have room to grow, and Bridget took the lead in turning her life around with some fresh resolutions.

Putting It on the Line

I am not saying that Bridget is my role model exactly. After all, I am hardly one for drinking and certainly never one for smoking. I am, however, one to see when I need a good kick in the pants. Taking her lead, I dared to up the ante with not one, not two, but THREE resolutions this year.

To experiment more in the kitchen. I have always dreamed of being a chef. I am fascinated by shows like Chopped, The Great Baking Showand Top Chef. My 10-year-old son shows an interest in cooking too. How great it would be to encourage that curiosity in him!
To get and stay fit. I ran a half-marathon last year but not in dazzling fashion, i.e. I was sick as a dog at the end of the race. I felt utterly humiliated. My goal is to get into shape this year so that I not only feel good about my body but that I can beat my 2016 half-marathon time and hopefully run a nausea-free race.
To write a book. I have done it before and I will do it again. It can be hard to stay on task with writing a book. There are more than enough distractions in my life from my kids to work. Words have an impact and I want to share them with the world.

Will you join me in making a resolution of your own?

Good News, Bad News

Data shows that people who make a resolution are 10x more likely to reach their goals than those who don’t make a resolution. And why not? We see the potential for change, and we plan to take action.

We are on our way!

Except when we aren’t.

It is easy to make fun of New Year’s resolutions and for good reason. After two weeks, only 71% of people are still on track with their goal, and that number drops to 56% after six months. The bad news? Only 8% of people actually reach long-term success! Yikes!

I thought to myself, I am going to be one of the 8%, but what can I do to assure success?

So I came up with this plan.

Make a Resolution, Start a Revolution

We need to think of our goals not as resolutions but as revolutions. A resolution is an idea. Ideas are great but simply wanting something is not going to make it happen. A revolution, on the other hand, is an action plan. It sets the path for our success.

How do we start a revolution?

Tackling a huge project can be intimidating, especially if we only see rewards far off in the future. This is where breaking our goals down into bite-sized pieces can come in handy. By offering up more opportunities for success, we get positive reinforcement that inches us towards the grand prize. Momentum inspires us to keep going.

More than that, we need to think about how to plan those bite-sized pieces. We can take our revolutions FAR if we are flexible, accountable, and real.

Planning My Revolution

Being flexible is not easy for everyone, but hey, sometimes life gets in the way. Things happen and we may need to cope with an illness, a loss, or some unforeseen tragedy. If we set goals that can only happen if everything goes exactly right, we are asking for trouble. We need to build in a bit, but only a bit, of laxity.

Accountability is the easy part. By telling you today what I hope to achieve, I am putting myself on the line. You can hold my feet to the fire, or my ego could be squashed if I did not live up to expectations. Good thing I am not going to fail!

Finally, it’s time to get real. What we want can blind us to what the real world has to offer. Sure, I could set a resolution to write a New York Times best-selling novel this year, but all I can do is write the book. The market and hopefully my future fans will decide how popular the book becomes. We should only set resolutions that we can actually control. The rest is a bonus.

Tripling Down on the New Year

I am proud of my resolutions but even more for my revolutions. For one, I decided to avoid daily goals. I wanted to build in flexibility that kept me on my toes but accounted for the busy life I lead. I see these goals as realistic, and YOU make me accountable!

— To experiment more in the kitchen. I will try a new recipe at least twice a month and hopefully will learn new cooking techniques in the process. Expect to see my successes and failures along with pictures along the way.
— To get and stay fit. I will exercise at least 150 minutes per week. It is time to put my Fitbit to good use.
— To write a book. I intend to set a writing goal of 1,500 words per week. At that pace, I should have a completed work by the end of the year.

A week in and so far I am on track.

See you on the other side, Bridget!