Making Decisions (and New Year’s Resolutions) Stick

Ok, so ‘fess up. How many of you made a New Year’s resolution to do something that you are not currently doing like exercise, lose weight, call your parents every week, read a book a month, be on time, comment more on this blog…? Ha ha. Well, that’s what New Year’s resolutions are about. They’re exciting to make and fun to share, yet sticking to them and successfully pulling them off is another story.

Isn’t it funny how New Year’s resolutions seldom stick? I think we have more fun making our resolution than we do with managing the actions it will take to bring them to reality.

Making a decision, especially a life -changing one, can be both exciting and stressful. However, as we look back on many of the decisions we’ve made in life, it’s easy to see that “making” the decision wasn’t the hardest or most important part. It’s the discipline of our actions that make or break a great decision. Managing decisions takes effort and sacrifice that must be sustained long term. Making a decision usually comes with some rah-rah or cheer while managing the decision is done quietly without a crowd.

For example, let’s say you make a decision to start living a healthier life. You are passionate and proud about your decision. You feel committed to this new endeavor and you share this exciting decision with your friends and family. After the thrill of making the decision is over, it’s time to be disciplined in the activities that will make your decision pay off. To live a healthier life, you have to start eating right and exercising. Of course the discipline of dieting and exercising is the hardest part of the decision. It’s that way with all decisions. Our actions make or break the success of every decision we make.

I’m sure many of you have made goals for 2011. The decision-making process was probably exciting to go through. Making goals is an exciting function of leadership. Now that you’re done deciding your goals, what actions do you need to start doing this week to manage the decisions you made? What will change in your activities, your focus, your time, and in your thinking? You see, today is the day you start managing the decisions you made at year-end 2010.

This reminds me of something funny my friend said this past Saturday, January 1st. She said that even though it was the 1st she wasn’t going to start her New Year’s resolution until Monday. Ha ha. Why? Well I’m guessing it’s because the actions to make her resolution a reality will be more difficult than making the resolution decision.

Making a significant decision in your life is exciting. Keep the excitement alive by making a list of activities you must commit to that will ensure the decision is more than an optimistic fairy tale.

Happy 2011 friends! Here’s to acting and managing our decisions well this year!

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