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A Better Approach to New Years Resolutions...or Any Resolution

By David Gruder


Let's face it: the truth about traditional New Years resolutions (and resolutions in general) is that they don't really work. Here is why: Most resolutions are little more than fancy-sounding "shoulds," or, at most, good intentions.

Good intentions by themselves rarely result in lasting change! They merely signify that we wish we had more motivation, readiness or willingness than we yet have. This is why making a resolution based on good intentions alone is a sure path to feeling inadequate, guilty, shameful, hopeless, or stupid later... once you realize you didn't succeed in making your resolution come true.

Fortunately, there IS a way to greatly improve your chances of having your resolutions come true. There are Four Secrets to Successful Resolutions:

1) UNDERSTAND THE CHANGE PROCESS: Know the sequence though which change happens;

2) IDENTIFY WHERE YOU ARE IN THE CHANGE PROCESS: Be impeccably honest with yourself about where you are in that sequence regarding the particular change you want to make

3) SELECT APPROPRIATE COMMITMENTS BASED ON WHERE YOU ARE: Select your "change commitments" based on where you ARE in that sequence, not based on where you WANT to be; and

4) ADDRESS YOUR SUCCESS OBJECTIONS: Address the blocks which may arise as you enact your "change commitment plan."

Harnessing these four secrets paves the way to the changes you desire.

Change occurs in a predictable eight-stage sequence. If you try to proceed out of sequence, you are likely to be inefficient and frustrated at best, or feel hopeless, defeated and give up at worst. The change sequence is: 1) Gleams; 2) Commitment; 3) Preparation; 4) Training; 5) Manifestation; 6) Anchoring; 7) Teamwork, and 8) Leadership.

1. GLEAMS: Gleams are about wanting the end (the goal) but not the means (what you'll have to do to achieve the goal). There's nothing wrong with having a Gleam. In fact, Gleams are dream incubators. The Gleams Trap, though, is believing a Gleam is a commitment.

2. COMMITMENT: When you move from "wanting to want to "authentic wanting, you have upgraded a Gleam to a Commitment. Commitment is occurs when we are ready to do whatever is necessary to manifest a Gleam.

3. PREPARATION: Realigning your priorities is the heart of Preparation, and this includes changing your habits or lifestyle to create the time and energy necessary to enact your Commitment. Initial attempts to succeed at your Commitment will remain limited until this Priorities Realignment occurs. Preparation also includes making decisions about resources you'll use to help you change.

4. TRAINING: During the Training stage you learn how to use your selected resources to develop your desired habit change or new capability. This is the step during which your change process moves into full swing. How honest your Commitment is reveals itself by the extent to which you are consistent in following your "training regimen."

5. MANIFESTING: You enter the Manifestation stage when you are repeatedly and consistently applying your training toward your committed goal. Expect that any self-defeating programming, patterns or baggage related to your goal that hasn't yet surfaced will do so during the Manifestation stage. As success starts to happen, questions often arise, including: "Is it safe for me and those around me if I am successful in this way?" "Do I deserve this amount of good?" "Does my success mean that someone who did me wrong in the past will have gotten away with what they did to me?" Many people who can't handle success self-destruct during the Manifestation stage in the change process, because wanting was okay but having is not. So, during the Manifestation stage, it is sometimes vitally important to ask, "What are my blocks to sustaining higher levels of good in my life?"

6. ANCHORING: A new pattern or habit becomes Anchored when it has become so fine-tuned, automatic and graceful that it is resistant to backsliding. In other words, it becomes second nature. You can tell that a new habit is Anchored when it continues, or is rapidly and easily returned to, even during times of stress or other life challenges.

7. TEAMWORK: People tend to discover that as they develop individual mastery in a new habit, they want to be around others who have also Anchored this in themselves. The energy of Teamwork is partly about developing a sense of community, partly about being stimulated to new levels of proficiency, and partly about experiencing the joys of synergy: creating something with others who also have mastery that's larger than can be manifested alone.

8. MENTORING: Sometimes people become so excited about a new habit or pattern they develop in themselves that they want to assist others in developing it as well. Mentoring is a form of leadership in which you take others under your wing to coach them in developing a habit or pattern that you have already anchored in yourself and enjoy doing with others in a Teamwork kind of way.

The more you can distinguish between Gleams and Commitments, the more confident you will become in selecting your resolutions. The more you allow yourself to follow the entire change sequence outlined in this article, the more success you will experience with your resolutions. Go for it!

Copyright 2005 Willingness Works

About The Author
Dr. David Gruder is a California licensed psychologist & Director of Willingness Works. An award-winning self-improvement author, he also has over 70 audios, including "Secrets of Successful Change" and "Removing the Blocks to Change." For more information, go to and click on "Articles" and then "A Better Approach to New Years Resolutions."


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