Resolutions are good to have as they can give us direction for the year; however, when used in the traditional sense, they are fraught with expectations and sometimes disappointment when we soon lose track of what we said we’d do. Typically resolutions are goals or wishes without concrete plans for how we will achieve them. These wishes are usually the real tough stuff we’ve been avoiding, which make them even more formidable to achieve!
This year we suggest that you give your resolutions a new twist. Instead of setting RESOLUTIONS, be SELF-DETERMINED in 2014! Make things happen through conscious choices.
What’s the Difference?
When you think of the word “resolution,” it brings to mind an end result or a solution to a problem, while “self-determined” implies that you are the master of your own destiny.
Making something happen starts with motivation that comes from your gut. When you really want something to happen, you find ways to make it happen. You get creative about ways to deal with obstacles, to create opportunities, to build bridges to get what you want.
Achieving resolutions starts here! Notice the words “starts here.”
Self determination also means acting on your motivation. To act, you may need more than intrinsic motivation. You may need to feel that you are capable of achieving your goals or resolutions and that you have the support to make them happen.
For example, if you have a burning desire to lose 50 pounds this year through exercise and healthy eating, and you are new to both, you may need to learn how to exercise, how to cook healthy meals, how to gauge portion sizes, how to motivate yourself to stay on track and so forth. Learning these skills and gaining this knowledge will give you the competence and confidence you need to achieve your goals.
In addition, you might need to feel supported by others in your endeavors. Does your spouse or your friends support you or sabotage your efforts? Do you feel they care for what you are trying to achieve? Feeling connection with and respect from those close to you further ignite motivation to adhere to your goals.
From Theory to Practice
“Okay, this all sounds good,” you say. Now, what do you do with this? In practical terms, what can you do to be more self determined and achieve your goals?
- Choose thoughtfully – Think about what you really want and pick things you are passionate about; focus on the important things that will enrich your life. The other stuff will take care of itself!
- Build competence and confidence – Take steps to build your capacity to get what you want. Experience and practice what you want on a smaller scale so you can gain confidence. For example, if you want to run a marathon by the end of the year, learn about running and the training process for marathons; establish ‘practice’ goals like running a 10k race and then a half-marathon in the next 6 months.
- Create supportive relationships – Whose support really matters to you? Talk to these people about what you are determined to do and why you are passionate about it. Ask for their help and support with specific actions. For example, with the marathon running goal, you might ask a friend who is a marathoner to help you create a training plan or to be at the 20 mile mark on race day for motivational support. With any great achievements, success comes from team effort.
Being self determined is a state of mind, body and soul, not an end! You can choose to be self determined in every action you take, not just with the big goals you set at the beginning of the year.
Want to learn more about Self Determination Theory? Visit http://www.selfdeterminationtheory.org/