Thinking about making a Resolution? – read this first

Yes, it is that time of year again. When most, and I know you are not most because you are reading this (thank you for that BTW), are reassessing themselves over the things that they have not done over the last year.

What is a Resolution?

The dictionary says:
1. a firm decision to do or not to do something.
2. the quality of being determined or resolute.

Resolutions turn your “I want” statements into “I will” statements:

  • I want to travel more becomes I will travel more this year
  • I want to save money becomes I will save money this year
  • I want to loose weight becomes I will loose weight this year
  • I want to stop an addictive habit becomes I will stop the destruction
  • I want to quit that job becomes I will get a better job this year

The list could go one, and I think you get the picture.

When reflecting the “I will” sentence is usually followed by a big “yabut” when things don’t go according to plan.

The most popular “yabut?” Life just got in the way.

Life gets us every time. So what are you going to do about it?

There are things we all want/need to either stop doing or start doing that when we do these things, life should be so much better. There are some of those things that will extend or improve our life!

If this all sounds familiar you are in good company. I certainly have been there a few hundred times too. I am human and the last time I checked still am.

Here is the rub.

Before you go off and join a gym, buy some fancy gizmo that guarantees to shed some well placed fat while only using it 10 minutes a week or start a new program or jump into anything, read on because it could save you some time and money.

I am not against New Year Resolutions. In fact, I support them in spite of the unpopularity of them. They are unpopular, my thought, that people in general are terrible at keeping promises or commitments that they make to themselves. The thought of breaking one more doesn’t warrant the effort to make one.

I also believe that you don’t have to wait for any particular date to start one. You could even make one right now! New Year’s  seems to be a perfect time because of the significance – it’s not only a new day, it’s a new year!

People fall into four camps when it comes to making a change.

  1. Camp one, the happy little campers have no idea or knowledge that a change is needed. Others might have another opinion.
  2. In the second camp, they know there is a need for change and don’t identify their next steps. They are content where they are.
  3. In camp three, people here have the knowledge and have started off with enthusiasm and lots of energy but it’s not sustainable. Good starters but poor finishers, or more like none finishers.
  4. The last camp is where everyone is rockin’ it! This is where I want you to be in – camp four!

I don’t know what camp you might reside in at the moment, however, here is what I have learned and experienced and got me into camp four consistently enough to make real meaningful changes.

For you to achieve any change, here are the few key steps: to achieve.

  1. Awareness that there is a need for a change. Whether you look at the scale your standing on and realize, holy crap that says 250 or you find yourself outside, by yourself chain-smoking. You have this sense that something has to change, and you know it.
  2. You have the desire to change. Knowing is one thing, willing to do something about it is another. For any change to happen, you must have a desire to change. Enough is enough, draw a line in the sand type of aspiration.
  3. You need to have some knowledge not only on how to but also on the what to. What does this change look like when you have done (BTW, you are never done), what you set out to do. Your vision and in year 2020, it should be clear! (Sorry could not resist – lol)
  4. What are the actions that are to be taken to make this change? These become apparent from #3
  5. The final step is reinforcement. For change to be sustained, there needs to be in place reinforcement when you slip. We all slip from time to time, and that’s okay. It is what you do after you slip that counts.

I used to think that if I only got this or that, joined a gym, or got a fitness machine, I would be able to do what I needed to do to make the change. Somehow, this item or thing would be all that it took to motivate me.

It was a have, do, and then become type of mindset.

It’s all backward!

The turning point happened when I realized I was doing it all backward. I needed to become what I wanted first, then the rest would fall into place. It worked every time I applied this principle to what I desired to change.

I did this to:

  • Quit smoking – three packs a day to nothing overnight
  • Lose 45 pounds – from 250 to 205
  • Manage my finances
  • Start new careers and learn new skills

Here is a real life example.

I am aware that I have gained a few pounds and have the desire to lose some weight.

How much weight? Is the goal to lose 50 pounds? That may be the end result, and it may be even more than that. Your body is a lot smarter than you give it credit for.

The real goal is healthy living.

Now there is only one question you need to ask yourself.

What do I have to BE; what type of person do I have to become, to be a person who lives a healthy lifestyle?

Start writing it down. I won’t give you the answers because you know the answers.

What do you have to become to be a person that lives a healthy lifestyle?

You know it. Write it down and act accordingly.

Act accordingly and watch your ego hit you with a blindside left hook.

That hit comes in the form of one big “yabut” and let the stories begin.

I hear them all the time. Yes, I don’t know your situation, or what your preconceived reality is. Your right and I would suggest that you don’t know either!

Anything you add after the BUT is your story why you need to stay exactly where you are. It’s your justified true belief and it makes you sound very reasonable not only to your friends but also to you.

Become the person you need to be and if it appears that having or doing is part of it, so be it.

You are the magic – not some special program or piece of equipment.

Need a hand with this? I offer a free coaching conversation, and I promise you I will get you on track. (click here for more information on coaching)

Happy New Year! Like every year, 2020 is filled with possibilities!


In case you didn’t catch it earlier, your success is totally dictated by the number of promises you keep to yourself. Those are the easiest to make and the hardest to keep.

RICK RUPPENTHAL is a professional Personal and Leadership Transformational Coach and a Certified Change Practitioner. As a retired paramedic of 30 years, Rick has held positions in leadership, education, as a coach and a mentor. Through those experiences, understanding, and adaptability, Rick has dedicated his life to a continual journey of self-discovery, adventure, and guiding others on their own journey of being their best self.

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